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this edition of the 

History of the Manhattan Club 

printed on fabriano hand-made paper from type 

during the month of december, 1915, is limited 

to six hundred and fifty copies 

this copy is number 




I \ 


I , 

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Copyright, 1916, by 








A Brief Discussion of the Origin of Clubs, with some detailed 
Reference to the Growth of "Political Clubs" in this Country 
— The State of the Democratic Party in the Summer of 1865 
— The actual Beginning of the Manhattan Club— Patriotic 
Motives of the Fotmders. 


The First Club-house— Early Presidents of the Club— "Prince 
John" Van Buren. 


"No. 96" — Customs and Laws— Douglas Taylor— The Fa- 
mous Trio— "Cadaverous Ben" — Well-known Members — The 
Bateman-Cranston Incident. 


The Old Benkard House — Recollections of Mr. Lyons — 
**Uncle Dave" Gilbert and General Martin T. McMahon 
— Wilder Allen, the Practical Joker. 





The Old Club— Public Dinners and Receptions— Out-of-town 
Members provided for— Mortality among the Club Officials — 
The Club denounces the Use of Troops in Louisiana. 


The New Club — Its Articles of Incorporation — Arrangements 
for the Renewal of the Leasehold— The Formal Acts of 


Club Ups and Downs— Its Long and Arduous Financial 
Struggle— Grievous Loss by Robbery— Final Adjustment of 
its Money Affairs. 


Early Years of the New Club — Many Constitutional Changes 
and a Few Receptions — The Election of Grover Cleveland to 
the Presidency — Deaths of Vice-President Hendricks, Gen- 
eral Hancock, and Governor Seymour. 


Last Years in the Benkard House — Removal to the Stewart 
House, called the "Whited Sepulchre" — Memorials of Mr. 
Cleveland— Death of Mr. Tilden. 


The Stewart House— Money Troubles— Truax, O'SuUivan, 
and Rodie— "Uncle Tom" Miller— His Tragic End— Factions 
of 1896— Colonel "Bill" Brown— His famous Cleveland-Hill 
Dinner — His Resignation in a "Huff" — The Reception to 
Dewey — The Admiral's good Memory. 


Club Proceedings in the Stewart House — A Round of Recep- 
tions to Gorman, Van Wyck, and Cleveland and Stevenson — 
Death of the distinguished Frederic R. Coudert. 





The Stewart House a "White Elephant"— Removal to 
Cheaper Quarters Imperative— Hunting for a New Club- 
house—The Final Choice — A Happy Solution. 


Final Proceedings — The New Century— Purchase of a Per- 
manent Home — Celebration of the Club's Semi-Centenary 
under Happy Auspices. 


The Club Library — Mr. James Dunne, Librarian of the Man- 
hattan Club, recalls Literary History — Gifts — Purchases — 
Rare Volumes. 


The contemporary Manhattan Club — Meeting of Old and 
New — Present Governors of the Club and their Records — 
The President and Ex-Presidents — Prominent Members — 
Some Groups within the Club — Thirty-year and Older Mem- 
bers of the Club — Notable Employees. 


The Anniversary Banquet — A Memorable and Brilliant Affair 
— President Britt presides and President Wilson outlines an 
Administrative Programme— Speeches by Judge O'Brien, 
Mr. Patrick Francis Murphy, and Mr. Frank Lawrence. 

L'ENVOI 127 



Facsimile of Original List of Members of the Club . . xxii 

Woodrow Wilson 4 

Samuel J. Tilden 10 

Grover Cleveland 16 

Presidents of the Club : 

John Van Buren, 1 865-1 866 22 

Augustus Schell, 1866-1874 28 

August Belmont, 1874-1879 36 

Aaron J. Vanderpoel, 1879-1886 44 

Frederic R. Coudert, 1 889-1 899 52 

Charles H. Truax, 1 899-1 906 58 

John Hone, 1906-1908 64 

Morgan J. O'Brien, 1908-19 10 70 

Alton B. Parker, 1910-1911 76 

Victor J. Dowling, 191 1-1914 82 

Philip J. Britt, 1914- 88 

Smith M. Weed 94 

James A. O'Gorman «. . 100 




William F. McCombs io6 

James W. Gerard 112 

Francis Burton Harrison 118 

Henry Watterson 124 

John T. Agnew 130 

Board of Governors of Manhattan Club 136 

Fiftieth Anniversary Dinner, November 4, 1915 . . . 142 
Employees of the Club 152 


When the Manhattan Club determined to celebrate the 
semi 'Centenary of its existence, it was deemed appro- 
priate to the occasion, in the view of the Anniversary- 
Committee, that the history of the Club for the past fifty 
years should be w^ritten. 

With that end in view, Colonel Henry Watterson, 
the editor of the " Liouisville Courier-Journal,** w^as ap- 
proached upon the subject by the representatives of the 
Club. Colonel Watterson had been a member of the 
Manhattan Club since 1882. He had been the personal 
intimate and associate of almost all of the founders of 
the organization. He w^as more familiar than any other 
living man mth the circumstances and conditions w^hich 
brought the Club into being; for over a quarter of a cen- 
tury, w^hen in New^ York City, he had made it his home. 
He was personally acquainted w^ith all of the distin- 
guished men w^ho, for half a century, had been numbered 
among its members. His reputation as scholar, editor, 
wit, and citizen of the world was international ; while 
as a commanding figure in the later history of our coun- 


try he w^as wellknow^n to the public. The words which 
had flow^n for a lifetime from his trenchant and graphic 
pen alw^ays commanded attention, sometimes engen- 
dered fear. So that, on the w^hole, if Colonel Watterson 
could be induced to write the history of the Manhattan 
Club, that institution, as well as the readers of the vol- 
ume, were indeed to be congratulated. Colonel Watter- 
son had for years been besought from many quarters to 
w^rite his Manhattan Club memoirs, but had persistently 
declined to do so. When the request of the Club was 
presented to him, how^ever, he immediately expressed 
his willingness and pleasure to undertake the w^ork — 
but upon one condition only, and that w^as that his 
effort should be a labor of love and a testimonial of his 
interest in and appreciation of the Club, of w^hich he 
has been so long an active member, and w^hich he loves 
so well. 

In the following pages Colonel Watterson tells the his- 
tory of the Manhattan Club for the first fifty years of 
its existence, and has succeeded in giving us not only an 
interesting study of its life, traditions, and achieve- 
ments, but has presented, in his ow^n vigorous and de- 
lightful style, some personal reminiscences of a number 
of the most celebrated men w^hom our country has pro- 
duced, and w^ho w^ere members of this organization. Wb 
feel confident, therefore, that this history will be inter- 
esting and entertaining not only to the members of the 
Manhattan Club, but also to those outside its circle who 
may have the leisure and opportunity to peruse its 


T^hese few lines are written as a public expression of 
the gratitude and affection which its members feel to- 
w^ard their scholarly and distinguished fellow^-member, 
w^ho, in this volume, becomes the historian of the Man- 
hattan Club. 

Philip J. Britt, 
President of the Manhattan Club. 

New York, 

November 15, 1915. 


and adventures remain ever a sealed book. Having little, if 
anything, to conceal, it is nevertheless a secret society. To 
the world outside, this air of premeditated mystery has ele- 
vated the commonplaces of every-day existence into a kind 
of romance. "What did the general say to the judge?" the 
query runs; "and what happened then?" 

The world will never know. The newspapers will never 
find out. There is one spot where the reporter may not enter 
at will. If he seeks "a story," he will have to invent it. 

In one of the London clubs a statesman once came to his 
end under circumstances most tragical. His body was spir- 
ited to his lodging. Nor did all the devices of Scotland Yard 
and the metropolitan press suffice to get at the truth — 
known to this day scarcely to a half-dozen living men, who 
may be relied on to make no sign. 

The Manhattan Club has not been without its adventures, 
though none of them so deep and dark as to fear exposure 
and shun publicity. Like the migrations of the good Vicar 
of Wakefield and his wife, "they lay chiefly betwixt the blue 
bed and the brown." There were those of us who used in 
later life to accuse Uncle Dave Gilbert, the most unoffending 
and methodical of men, of nursing some awful crime— "some 
secret mystery the spirit haunting" — but dear old Douglas 
Taylor would come to the rescue with : "The only explana- 
tion Dave Gilbert wants to make is that I was with him, and 
so were Billy Brown and Charlie Dayton and Ashbel Fitch 
and — "' whereat the company, which had often heard the 
quiz, evaporated to "the rooms thereunto adjoining." 

The Manhattan was from the first a simple homelike club. 
We played most games for small stakes. A little group 
actually played draw-poker, forbidden in most clubs, with- 
out the usual consequences of fuss or scandal. The standard 
play now is, and for years has been, dominoes chiefly for 
drinks, "wasting the midday oil," as was once observed by 
Sylvester O' Sullivan, in that great voice of his, crossing the 



living-room into the "library," — as he called the bar, — "and 
impoverishing themselves and their families instead of im- 
proving their minds, as I am about to improve mine." 

In perusing the pages which follow the reader must con- 
tent himself with a crude narrative of the Club's visible and 
official life. It will be found valuable only as a register — 
interesting solely in a suggestive way. No claims of author- 
ship are, or could be, advanced in its favor. It has not been 
composed, but compiled and edited, albeit with fidelity and 
painstaking. It records a half-century of honorable and not 
undistinguished service. It reminds the present, and will 
advise the future, of the past. If it undertook to do more, it 
would exceed the requirement, passing quite beyond the 
province of such a digest. 

The Manhattan Club ranks second to no club in America. 
To the veteran member who, as a labor of love and duty, 
has framed these chapters and put these pages together, it 
doubtless appears, through the magnifying haze of years, 
greater — certainly dezirer — than any. But with the Union 
Club and the Union League — its contemporaries — and the 
Century, its senior — it links the life of primitive old New 
York with that of the wondrous great metropolis ; marks im- 
pressively the progressive revolutions of modern times; and 
tells us that, in spite of tide and chance, of time and change, 
we are Americans, one and all, whether we call ourselves 
Republicans or Democrats, the party label but a trade-mark 
stamp, "the man a man for a' that." 

At the request of the committee having the celebration of 
the semi-centenary of the Club in charge, I have added a 
concluding chapter of personal reminiscence, whose unin- 
tentioned egotism may be forgiven if its subject-matter be 
found worth while. The period of the Tilden domination in 
the Empire State, beginning with the election of the Sage of 
Gramercy Park to the governorship in 1875, and not ending 
imtil his death in 1886, marked the rise of the Democratic 



Party from the deeps of political adversity to the firm, high 
ground of its former prestige and influence — a Democrat in 
the White House at Washington, and in the executive man- 
sion at Albany, all the result of the wise leadership of Samuel 
Jones Tilden, one of the founders and always a loyal mem- 
ber of the Manhattan Club. It is hoped the space given to 
this will not appear disproportioned. It forms an important 
part of the Club's history, and recalls an almost forgotten 
chapter of national history. 

I have taken for an Introductory Chapter a sketch written 
by Mr. Edward G. Riggs, a member of the Club, and printed 
in the New York "Sun" some twenty-three years ago, which 
is so graphic as a contemporary picture and so vivid as a 
personal reminiscence as fitly to precede the more detailed 

I have had from members of the MeUihattzui both assist- 
ance and sympathy in collecting the data needful to an 
adequate record of the Club's activities; but from Mr. Alex- 
ander Konta a direct personal interest and an actual division 
of labor which have been invaluable. In every way and at 
each turning his literary training, artistic perception and 
critical judgment, his constant support and loyal zeal, have 
made that easy which otherwise would have been hard in- 
deed. This prelude would be neither sufficient nor just with- 
out my most grateful acknowledgment to Mr. Konta. 


We. the iniifo'Mu/md. luninnlhi (njrrr to Itccrnnc Mvmhcrs of the 

" .Mamiaitan Club,' 

in conformity to the Constitution heretofore adojtted, and to pay to Wilson G. Hunt, 
Trcfisurer. or his order, an demand, the >//«/ of 7)ro Hundred Dollars each, for the 

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HE Manhattan Club, at Fifth Avenue and 
Thirty-fourth Street, is the home of the 
swallowtail Democracy. To the Demo- 
cratic Party it is what the Union League 
Club is to the Republican Party. The mem- 
bers wear fine linen, have many changes of 
raiment, are partial to patent-leathers and 
silk-woven goloshes. There are brains and culture in the 
Club. The Club building is the marble house erected by the 
late Alexander T. Stewart. It cost $1,000,000. It is marble 
throughout. It is just as solidly marble inside as outside. 
The Club has a twenty-one years* lease on the building — 
$35»ooo a year for the first five years, $37,500 a year for the 
next five years, and $40,000 a year for the remaining eleven 
years. The house is still owned by the Stewart estate. 

In 1864, when the idea of such a club was first promul- 
gated, the present splendor of the Club would have been a 
fatuous dream. The Democracy was at its lowest point in 
the history of the nation. It was not fashionable to be a 
Democrat. The glory of Lincoln and the Republican Party 
was shining like a midday sun. A Democrat was nothing 

1 Edward G. Riggs in the New York "Sun," April 23, 1892. 



but a copperhead. He was considered little less than a 
traitor. Innumerable instances are on record where he was 
shunned as a most unwholesome person. The bitterness 
was intense. The memories of those days are still fresh in 
the minds of some of the old members of the Club, including 
Douglas Taylor, who, more than any other man, must be 
considered the original founder of the Club ; Manton Marble, 
John T. Agnew, George Ticknor Curtis, Andrew H. Green, 
Henry Hilton, and Edward Cooper. 

It may be said truthfully that but for the Union League 
Club, the Manhattan Club would perhaps never have been 
organized. The Union League Club was fairly on its way 
to prosperity when the Democratic Party nominated Mc- 
Clellan and Pendleton to oppose Lincoln and Johnson. The 
Union League Club was Republican in every fibre. The ap- 
plications of Democrats to join it were distastefully received. 
It is true that in a spasm of generosity it accepted James T. 
Brady, Charles P. Daly, and William Butler Duncan. Judge 
Daly, however, quickly retired from the Union League. The 
atmosphere was not pleasant to him. He and Mr. Brady and 
Mr. Duncan were as loyal as any three men on earth. The 
Union Leaguers, though, were shy of such company. The 
three leading clubs of New York at the time — the Union, 
the Union League, and the Century — had for presidents 
pronounced Republicans like William M. Evarts, Hamilton 
Fish, and William H. Seward. The famous Century Club 
was opposed even to Gulian C. Verplanck. Radical notions 
abounded. Sturdy old Democrats resented the harsh senti- 
ments of the Republicans. An abortive attempt to organize 
a Democratic club similar to the Union League was made 
in 1864, just prior to the McClellan-Pendleton campaign. 
General McClellan and his associate on the ticket were 
greatly interested in the project. Their headquarters were at 
the New York Hotel. The McClellan Executive Committee 
occasionally met at Delmonico's, and it was there, in the 



presence of the candidate, Manton Marble, John T. Hoffman 
(Recorder at the time), Douglas Taylor, Augustus Schell, 
George W. McLean, Henry Hilton, and others, that the 
project received its first inspiration. The overwhelming 
defeat of McClellan and Pendleton followed, and the idea of 
a swell Democratic club was shattered for the moment. The 
Democratic Party was poverty-stricken. Democrats who 
had voted for McClellan and Pendleton were flouted and 
malignantly dubbed copperheads. 

But there were energetic spirits behind the club move- 
ment. The spring of '65 was ushered in, and with it the club 
project was taken up again. The little band of Democrats 
had various meetings at the residence of George W. McLean, 
at the New York Hotel, in the office of Manton Marble, and 
at the office of Douglas Taylor, then commissioner of jurors. 
In the latter place, in April, 1865, a meeting was held at 
which a number of judges and leading Democrats were pres- 
ent, including Mayor Gunther and Recorder Hoffman, and 
a committee consisting of Chief Justice Charles P. Daly of 
the Common Pleas, Clerk Nathaniel Jarvis of that court, and 
Mr. Taylor was delegated to visit Democrats and secure sig- 
natures for the proposed club. The initiation fee and dues 
were fixed at two hundred dollars. This was a staggerer, to 
begin with. It was a problem as to how many Democrats 
in New York City would put their hands in their pockets and 
pay two hundred dollars to join a club, the representative of 
a party consisting of "copperheads and traitors." Things 
ran along until the following June, when a meeting of the 
Club's pioneers was held in Augustus Schell's law office, 
then at 40 Wall Street. It was there that Mr. Marble sug- 
gested that the new Club should be known as the Manhattan 
Club ; and at a subsequent meeting at the same place the fol- 
lowing twenty-five Democrats were selected as permanent 
managers of the organization : Gulian C. Verplanck, Augus- 
tus Schell, John A, Dix, William F. Allen, August Belmont, 



John Van Buren (son of Martin Van Buren), Horace F. 
Clark, George W. McLean, S. L. M. Barlow, Charles 
O'Conor, Samuel J. Tilden, George Ticknor Curtis, Andrew 
H. Green, William Butler Duncan, Henry Hilton, Anthony 
L. Robertson, Manton Marble, William C. Prime, James T. 
Brady, Edwards Pierrepont, Wilson G. Hunt, Edward 
Cooper, Douglas Taylor, John T. Hoffman, and E.L.Corliss. 
General Dix, who had sat in Buchanan's cabinet, was nomi- 
nally a Democrat, but declined to serve as one of the mana- 
gers. In fact, he switched over to the Union Leaguers. 

The first meeting of the Managing Committee was at Del- 
monico's. Fourteenth Street and Fifth Avenue, on Tuesday 
evening, July i8, 1865. At this and subsequent meetings in 
the same month, Mr. Augustus Schell acting as chairman, 
Mr. Marble was requested to frame a constitution. Judge 
Hilton and John Van Buren were appointed a committee to 
secure a permanent home for the Club, and Mr. Taylor and 
Mr. McLean hustled around to get members. A list of one 
hundred and twenty Democrats was secured. They were 
ready to pay the two hundred dollars each. 

The next thing was to get a home. The Moffatt mansion 
in Union Square, at that time next to the Everett House, 
was rejected. The committee finally purchased the old 
Parker or Benkard mansion, at Fifth Avenue and Fifteenth 
Street, for $1 10,000. Half of this money was to be raised on 
bonds. A fund for preliminary expenses was made neces- 
sary, and August Belmont subscribed $10,000; Augustus 
Schell, $5000; Judge Hilton, $5000; S. L. M. Barlow, $5000; 
Horace F. Clark, $5000; William Butler Duncan, $5000; 
Samuel J. Tilden, $5000; and Mr. Marble and others made 
up the sum to $55,000. The Democracy was not dead yet. 
As a matter of fact, none of that $55,000 was ever required. 
The membership list rapidly rose to three hundred, and this 
gave the Club $60,000 to start with, so the subscriptions were 
not called in. 



The first officers of the Club were: John Van Buren, presi- 
dent; Augustus Schell, vice-president; Manton Marble, 
secretary; and Wilson G. Hunt, treasurer. Mr. Hunt soon 
retired. Old Dean Richmond was elected a manager in his 
place, and when he died, shortly afterward, Horatio Sey- 
mour accepted the place. The first House Committee com- 
prised Mr. McLean, Mr. Hilton, and Hiram Cranston, 
proprietor of the New York Hotel. All worked like beavers 
to fix up the home of the Club. The "house-warming" was 
on December i6, 1865. 

The first president of the Club, John Van Buren, was 
known as "Prince John." He was the son of Martin Van 
Buren, the Kinderhook statesman, who was governor of the 
State in 1828, secretary of state under Jackson in 1829, min- 
ister to England in 1831, vice-president under Jackson in 
1833, and eighth President of the United States in 1837. 
John Van Buren was attached to the American Legation in 
London imder his father. The present Queen of England 
was then Princess Victoria, daughter of Edward, Duke of 
Kent, fourth son of George III. John Van Buren, at a grand 
state ball at which the ambassadors of that day were present, 
had the honor of dancing with Princess Victoria. He opened 
the quadrille with the future Queen of England, and the 
American newspapers got to calling him Prince John. The 
title remained with him until his death on October 13, 1866. 
His successors as president of the Club, in their order from 
that day to this, are: Augustus Schell, August Belmont, 
Aaron J. Vanderpoel, Manton Marble, and Frederic R. 


The Club has always been a factor in Democratic politics. 
Its first venture in national affairs, though, was not success- 
ful. This was an effort, practically, to capture President 
Andrew Johnson and make him a full-fledged Democrat. It 



was a strategic move, and at one time the managers of the 
Club thought it would be successful. President Johnson 
was not pleasing the Republicans, by any means. The 
Democracy was at such a low ebb that the Manhattan 
strategists believed that any effort, no matter how difficult, 
should be attempted to revive the party's fortunes in the 
nation. The scheme was started when this letter was sent 
to President Johnson on March 12, 1866: 

To the Hon. Andrew Johnson, 

President of the United States. 

Sir: The undersigned members of the Managing Commit- 
tee of the Manhattan Club beg leave to apprise you that you 
were this day elected an honorary member of the Club, and 
to request your acceptance of the same. They enclose a 
copy of their Constitution and By-Laws, with a list of mem- 
bers of the Club, which will be found to include a fair 
representation of the intelligence, enterprise, wealth, and 
patriotism of our City and State. They have also been re- 
quested to say to you, in behalf of the Club, that they desire 
to procure a full-length portrait of yourself, to be painted by 
one of our first artists, and that they will be much obliged if 
you will gratify them by consenting to sit to him. It is the 
earnest desire of the Club to adorn their walls with the 
representation of the form and lineaments of a statesman 
and patriot whose efforts to restore the peace and union of 
our distracted country and whose just and fearless rebukes 
of disunionists command their unanimous, cordial, and en- 
thusiastic approbation. 

Please address your answer to 

John Van Buren, 

President of the Manhattan Club, 
96 Fifth Avenue. 



W. F. Allen, S. L. M. Barlow, August Belmont, James T. 
Brady, Hiram Cranston, George Ticknor Curtis, Edward 
Cooper, Edward L. Corliss, H. F. Clark, W. Butler Duncan, 
Andrew H. Green, John T. Hoffman, Henry Hilton, Edwards 
Pierrepont, Manton Marble, George W. McLean, W. C. 
Prime, Dean Richmond, Augustus Schell, Douglas Taylor, 
G. C. Verplanck, S. J. Tilden; John Van Buren, President. 

In view of the fact that the Constitution of the Club ex- 
pressly declares that its object is to advance Democratic 
principles, the foregoing letter was a mighty interesting one 
to send to a man elected on the ticket with Abraham Lincoln, 
the first President of the Republican Party. The managers 
of the Club and those in the scheme eagerly awaited a reply 
from President Johnson. It came ten days later, and the 
night the letter reached the Club there was a fine old hubbub 
over it. The letter said : 

Executive Mansion, 
Washington, D. C, March 22, 1866. 

John Van Buren, Esq., John T. Hoffman, Esq., et al. 

Gentlemen : I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt 
of your letter of the 12th instant, informing me of my elec- 
tion as an Honorary Member of the Manhattan Club of New 
York City, and asking me to allow an artist of your selection 
to take a full-length portrait of myself for your Club. 

In communicating to you my acceptance of these compli- 
ments, I desire to thank you sincerely for them and for the 
friendly expressions of support and encouragement you 
tender me in the discharge of my public duties. An honest 
and clear conviction of duty and consciousness of rectitude 
of purpose, the unwavering support of the AmericcUi people, 
and the blessing of an all-wise Providence will, I believe, 
enable me to meet any emergency. I feel that I have the 



first two; and it shall be the object of my every endeavor to 
deserve the remaining requisite. 
I am, gentlemen, with great respect, 

Your obedient servant, 

Andrew Johnson. 

The artist was promptly sent on to Washington, and the 
painting then made of President Johnson still hangs in the 
Manhattan Club. There was nothing particular in Presi- 
dent Johnson's letter to encourage the managers, but it was 
a starting-point. It was decided to push the game. Up to 
that time no man had been elected a member who could not 
conscientiously say that he was a Democrat. In order to 
carry out the scheme with President Johnsoi^i this feature 
was modified, and Clarence Seward, Thurlow Weed, and a 
dozen other friends of Johnson were admitted to the Club. 
Old members, talking of that period in the Club's existence, 
say they thought then that they had Johnson sure. But in 
order to fasten him it was decided to get up a great meeting 
in Union Square to sustain Johnson, and hurrah for his pol- 
icy of making enemies in his own party. This meeting was 
held on September 17, 1866, and John A. Dix, who was at 
that time in the Union League Club, was pushed to the front 
as chairman. He was nothing but a "stall," it was remarked 
by a veteran of the Club. The Manhattan Club's crusade 
into the enemy's camp was known as the "Citizens' move- 
ment." This covered the real object of the Democratic 
schemers. President Johnson came on to New York, and 
the meeting in Union Square was the largest ever held there. 
It sustained President Johnson and his policy with the 
greatest enthusiasm. John T. Hoffman, all the Schells, 
and every manager of the Manhattan Club believed then 
that they had captured Johnson. A great banquet was given 
in his honor at the Club, and the "Citizens," otherwise 
Democrats, feasted him at Delmonico's. The Republicans, 



though, were fully aware of the Manhattan Club's tactics 
concerning Johnson, and they, too, went to work. An old 
manager of the Club (Douglas Taylor), recalling the epi- 
sode, says : 

"We hungry Democrats thought we had Johnson sure. 
We wined and dined him in great shape. But Johnson was 
afraid of impeachment, and the Republicans held that axe 
over his head. His Democracy soon oozed out, and Seward, 
Weed, and all the Johnson Democrats went back to the Re- 
publican Party." 

In 1868 the Club took a very active part in the campaign 
of Seymour and Blciir. They offered the Democratic Na- 
tional Committee the use of the club-house, and the in- 
vitation was accepted. Seymour and Blair received the 
Notification Committee there, and made the Club their head- 
quarters. Governor Seymour had a little bedroom at the 
top of the building, and there he discussed the plans of the 
campaign with the Executive Committee. His strongest 
diet and stimulant during the time were stewed oysters and 
green tea. In the '72 campaign Horace Greeley was break- 
fasted at the Manhattan. All the leading Democrats visited 
the Club to greet Mr. Greeley and drink his health. But a 
decline in the Club's fortunes followed the Greeley cam- 
paign. Many Democrats had not reconciled themselves to 
the candidacy of Mr. Greeley, and the feeling among the 
members was not happy. The attendance fell off, and finan- 
cial entanglements appeared above the horizon. The elec- 
tion of Samuel J. Tilden as governor in 1874 reawakened 
interest; and the fight in 1876, when Mr. Tilden, an original 
manager of the Club, was a candidate, stirred its enthusiasm. 
But the Greeley feeling had taken deep root, and in 1877 the 
Club was reorganized, August Belmont remaining as presi- 
dent. From that time, however, the Club has continued to 
grow, and it is now booming. It is true that there is a Mug- 
wump element in the Manhattan, bitterly opposed to certain 



Democratic leaders. But in view of the experience in dealing 
with unknown gods, the officers of the Club are practically 
compelled to recognize the great Democratic leaders, no 
matter whether personally objectionable to them or not. 

President Cleveland has always had a good many friends 
in the Club. He is a member. The Club gave him a recep- 
tion and dinner on his election as governor in 1882. The 
Club has always royally entertained the Democratic gov- 
ernors and Democratic senators. Many of the members, 
nevertheless, have prided themselves upon belonging to a 
Democratic club with swallowtail proclivities and affilia- 
tions. They do not hesitate to say that they don't like the 
"short-hairs." It is a matter of fact that John Kelly, through 
his friends in the Club, was elected three times, and that he 
always refused to accept the membership. He never quali- 
fied. Richard Croker has not been in the Club more than 
half a dozen times in his life. He will only go there on the 
invitation of Mayor Gilroy or some of his old personal 
friends in the Tammany organization. 


The Manhattan Club has always been famous for its kitchen. 
Uncle Sam Ward became a member on January 22, 1866, and 
from that day until his death was an habitual frequenter, his 
home being just around the corner. He did more to make 
the Club famous in one direction than any dozen men in 
it. He gathered around him a little coterie of his own. It 
included John Brougham, Joseph Jefferson, William J. 
Florence, William Henry Hurlbert, Oakey Hall, Dion 
Boucicault, "Winter Garden" Stuart, and others. Commo- 
dore Vanderbilt played whist in the Club with his friends 
every night for years. 

This article, however, aims not to deal in memories, but 
rather to speak of the Manhattan as it is to-day. The 



Stewart house has been described a hundred times : the pic- 
tures in the main corridor, with its marble pillars and great 
chandeliers; the superbly frescoed ceiling; the drawing- 
room, enriched with bric-a-brac, paintings, mirrors, vases, 
crystal chandeliers, medallions, statuettes, and velvet car- 
pets; the library, the dining-room, the kitchen at the top of 
the building, the reception- and the billiard-rooms. In the 
library are the English and American papers, books of fiction 
and reference, scientific works, biographies, history, the 
poets, Burke's "Peerage," for the use of the younger mem- 
bers, and Balzac's works, for the delight of those more ad- 
vanced in life. 

The dining-room is on the second floor, on the Fifth Ave- 
nue side. It is the room once occupied by President Grant 
as a bed-chamber when he was the guest of Mr. Stewart. It 
glows like fairyland at night, when the crystal chandeliers 
are lighted and the tables are adorned with wax candles, in 
solid silver candelabra, with tiny red and gold shades. The 
main stairway, leading from the main corridor to the top of 
the building, is of marble, and alone cost $100,000. In the 
general reception-room there are some very handsome me- 
dallions, including those of Alexander Hamilton, Carroll of 
CarroUton, George Washington, and Benjamin Franklin. 
Valuable paintings are here, there, and everywhere. It cost 
the Club quite $500,000 to fit up the building when it moved 
from the old house at Fifteenth Street and Fifth Avenue two 
years ago. But people will want to know something about 
the members of the Club and the experiences there. 

President Coudert is now in Paris. He is one of the coun- 
sel appointed by President Harrison to represent the United 
States before the Behring Sea Commission. Mr. Coudert 
started life about as poor as anybody possibly could be. He 
was well educated, though, and made his first money trans- 
lating the French papers for the "New York Herald." The 
money he earned there helped him to become a lawyer, and 



he has attained international fame in his profession. Many 
of Mr. Coudert's friends thought that President Cleveland 
would make him ambassador at Paris. In Mr. Coudert's 
absence, Christopher Columbus Baldwin is acting president. 
He is a Wall Street banker. J. Edward Simmons, the treas- 
urer, is president of the Fourth National Bank. He was a 
Troy boy, and grew up with Senator Edward Murphy, Jr. 
The fondness of Mr. Simmons for Mr. Murphy has been 
very deep from those days, and no man was prouder of Mr. 
Murphy's elevation to the United States Senate than was he. 
Among the life members is John T. Agnew, who is looked 
upon as the Nestor of the Club. Mr. Agnew is vice-presi- 
dent of the Continental National Bank, and is an authority 
on banking and financial questions. He is godfather to half 
the members of the Club ; that is, he was their sponsor when 
they came before the Board of Governors for election. Mr. 
Agnew is a handsome, gray-haired gentleman who has 
maintained in life such a strict observance of hygienic rule 
that at threescore and ten, although he has a twitch of 
rheumatism, his complexion is that of rosy youth. He is a 
t3^e of the true American. He looks like an American. He 
is six feet high, and straight as a mast. He could have been 
president of the Club. He has had offers of every office the 
Club had, but has persistently declined. He has more influ- 
ence than any other member of the Club in certain direc- 
tions. He is bright as a new dollar, an enthusiastic believer 
in the future of New York, who thinks the town is only just 
starting. Usually he sits in an arm-chair in the big morning- 
room, and on entering the members first make it their busi- 
ness to pay their respects to him. Some of the other life 
members are ex-Congressman Perry Belmont, son of August 
Belmont, who did so much for the Club ; ex-Mayor Edward 
Cooper, who came within an ace of being nominated for 
governor in 1882, when Mr. Cleveland won the prize; ex- 
Mayor Smith Ely, Manton Marble, Robert B. Roosevelt, 



Douglas Taylor, Nelson J. Waterbury, Jr., and Sidney Web- 
ster, nephew of Franklin Pierce and son-in-law of Heimilton 

In looking over the general list of the Club and the hap- 
penings there, the remark of old man Weller is recalled. Mr. 
Weller, on seeing a canary-bird in a cage inside a jail, said: 
"There 's wheels within wheels." So in the Manhattan there 
are comprised a variety of clubs and coteries, and almost 
every other club in the City of New York, if not in the 
United States, is represented by some little group. For in- 
stance, giving credit to antiquity first, there is the Cuttyhunk 
Club. Who of the old-timers has not heard of the glories of 
Cuttyhunk and George Barnard and Charlie Osborn, and 
the "Dreadnought," and old Billy Woodhull, and Sam Post, 
and Billy Spence, and Phcene Ingraham? Several of the old 
set have gone to their account, but they helped to make the 
island of Cuttyhunk a merry resort years before the Ameri- 
cus Club was born; and during those days, and since, the 
followers of Cuttyhunk have been very numerous in the 
Manhattan Club. The stories that Joseph J. 0*Donohue 
can tell about bass hauls sound like killy stories when com- 
pared with the high-hook records of these Cuttyhunkers. It 
is true that the menhaden fishers in Buzzard's Bay have 
pretty well killed the big bass fishing at Cuttyhunk, but this 
has not caused any diminution in the Cuttyhunk yarns which 
are heard every afternoon in the Manhattan parlors. 

Then there is the set known as the "Larchmont crew." 
They spread all over the Club. They have two or three 
members of the Board of Governors, including Assistant 
District Attorney Harry Macdona, who in the last election 
was the only young man elected to the Board. It was a per- 
sonal triumph for Mr. Macdona. The Larchmont element 
in the Club also owns the office of secretary in the person 
of David Gilbert. Then there are Chester Munroe, CoUey 
Colt of the "Dauntless," Jordan L. Mott, Jr., Gus Monroe, 



George Cormack, and Matt Clark, and they make up a set 
that always hangs together. 

Then there is also what is known as the "Day Club" or as 
the "New York Stock Exchange." They have a very power- 
ful little club of their own inside the Manhattan. They have 
three representatives on the Board of Governors, and while 
they are not always together in the Club, like the Cutty- 
hunkers and the Larchmont crew, they appear most unani- 
mously together on nights of election when any one in whom 
they are interested is a candidate. John Hone may properly 
be considered the leader of the Day Club. 

Next in importance comes the Union Club crowd. They 
have five members on the Board of Governors, one of them 
being the newly elected and very popular governor, Daniel 
Bayne. He defeated Francis K. Pendleton, the son of 
Senator Pendleton, who ran for Vice-President on the ticket 
headed by General McClellan when the Club was first 
thought of. The Union Club crowd in the Club is a sort of 
political club. They are banded together to push their own 

Then, in addition to these coteries there are social lines 
and lines of affinity cross-cutting the sets and cliques. There 
is a breakfast set, members who breakfast at the Club up to 
one o'clock. There is an afternoon set that begins to come in 
about two and stays till dinner-time. They play billiards, 
talk, or play chess or dominoes. Then there 's the night set. 
This last is largely composed of the hard-working public 
officials, including many judges and some city officials, as 
Mayor Gilroy, Supervisor W. J. K. Kenny, Corporation 
Counsel Clark, and their friends. 

Recurring to the subject of games, there is a rule in the 
Club which tells the games that may be played there. These 
are whist, euchre, Boston, all-fours, ecarte, bezique, crib- 
bage, piquet, hearts, billiards, chess, checkers, backgammon, 
and dominoes. 



The champion billiard-player of the Club is James Inglis, 
and the pool champion, when Joseph J. O'Donohue is not 
around, is Eddie Bell, though Phoene Ingraham is a pretty 
fair hand at the game. But there is now coming to the front 
a gentleman who gives promise of making some of the old- 
time billiard and pool champions very tired. He finds time 
occasionally on Saturdays to ease his mind from the cares of 
the Standard Oil Company and various collateral activities 
and industries. This is John D. Archbold. It is admitted 
with great regret by the old-time champions that Mr. Arch- 
bold*s game is improving to such an extent that it will be 
necessary to get a special class for him pretty soon. Van 
Emberg and Bissell believe themselves to be in Archbold's 
class, but this belief is limited to themselves. The great 
English billiard champion is said to be Major Ulrich ; but as 
"blackjack" is now replacing the English game in the Club, 
the Major is falling off for lack of practice. Blackjack is the 
French game of billiards, with the addition of a black pin, 
which is a heavy counter in the game. Arthur Ingraham, 
Harry Macdona, Dave Gilbert, and Colonel Loeser are the 
blackjack fiends. Manton Marble and Judge Abram R. 
Lawrence are the two oldest billiard-players in the Club. 

The judicial group is very exclusive. They dine together, 
especially Judge Edward Van Brunt, Judge John Clinton 
Gray, Judge Miles Beach, Judge Charles Truax, Judge 
Roger Pryor, Judge Ingraham, Judge Barrett, Judge Gilder- 
sleeve, Judge George Andrews, Judge Lawrence, and Judge 

The society end of the Club is represented by William C. 
Whitney, who is chairman of the Library Committee and 
one of the governors; August Belmont, Jr., Oliver H. P. 
Belmont, Carroll Bryce, J. Coleman Draj^on, Cornelius 
Vanderbilt, J. Sergeant Cram, Joe Decker, Reginald Franck- 
13m, George and Frederic Frelinghuysen, sons of President 
Arthur's Secretary of State; Freddie Gebhard, Elbridge T. 



Gerry, Wendell Goodwin, one-time captain of the Harvard 
crew; J. N. A. Griswold, Herman Oelrichs, Henry Mar- 
quand, George B. McClellan, president of the Board of 
Aldermen; Gouverneur Morris, Thomas Newbold, J. Hamp- 
den Robb, George Lorillard Reynolds, Montgomery Roose- 
velt, John Rutherfurd, George Schermerhorn, thirty or forty 
Smiths, hyphenated and single-breasted; Hamilton McKay 
Twombly, Lawrence Turnure, William Vandervoort, W. 
Seward Webb, and Willard P. Ward, one of the greatest 
clubmen in New York, who belongs to nearly all the "ger- 
man" clubs, the University, the Calumet, the Knickerbocker, 
the Metropolitan, and others. 

There is one member of the Club without a sketch of 
whom no article on the Manhattan Club would be complete. 
He is Uncle Thomas Jefferson Miller. Uncle Tom, sad to 
relate, in the swell new club-house does n't cut such a figure 
as in former days. With its big membership of over a thou- 
sand active members and the large list of non-resident mem- 
bers, this is quite natural. When the Club was at the old 
stand at Fifteenth Street and Fifth Avenue, there were 
about six hundred members, and everybody knew everybody 
else. It has now grown so large that many members are 
unacquainted with each other. In old times it was a sort of 
family affair. Uncle Tom prescribed the menu, and it was 
considered good form. He had a great display of inventions, 
among them some that would have plagued the author of 
the "Physiology of Taste." Uncle Tom has discovered a 
great many things that Savarin did not live long enough to 
find out. His cunning has developed a lot of delightful 
things to eat that Savarin did not know existed; for instance, 
Milford clams, Lynn Haven Bay oysters, oyster-crabs, 
diamond-back terrapin, canvasback ducks, and pompano. 
Uncle Tom does not go into the kitchen now. He used to, 
and it is said of him that he could make a Hollandaise sauce 
light enough to rival a feather. The magical things that 



Uncle Tom can make out of every-day cheese, a little heat,, 
and a chafing-dish remain as pleasant memories in otherwise 
very foggy nights. Uncle Tom is no timid suggester of how 
things should be done, but a forcible and direct person, who, 
knowing what he wants, applies himself at once to the situ- 
ation; and when he is devising a "rabbit" at about half -past 
twelve o'clock at night, nothing is allowed to occur in that 
room except the ordinary breathing of the onlookers. 

Uncle Tom's distinction would not be justified if his great 
abilities had been alone displayed in the kitchen or at the 
chafing-dish. He never reaches his full splendor until things 
are served, and then woe betide the captain of the watch if 
his spoon is not set at an exact and peculiar angle, all his 
own, to his fork and his knife and his various other parapher- 
nalia for enjoying the things he has ordered to eat ! It has 
been said that his salad-dressing is a symposium. When 
Uncle Tom mixes salad-dressing it is a thing of g^eat de- 
light, a large physical effort, accompanied by a merry noise 
of spoons and forks, wooden and metal. The equipment of 
knowledge that is required to arrive at the distinction Uncle 
Tom has attained may be imagined from the fact that on 
several occasions during his career of fifteen or more years 
in the Club he has made violent protestations to the House 
Committee on the quality of the table salt furnished. Ordi- 
nary mortals may complain about the over-ripeness of their 
oil or of the too keen acidity of their vinegar, but when it 
gets to salt it requires the fine critical judgment that only 
Uncle Thomas Jefferson Miller possesses.* 


The initiation fee is now $250, and the dues $75 a year. Any 
member may become a life member on pa5mient of $1000 in 
addition to the initiation fee of $250. 

^ His tragic end is told elsewhere in this history. 



Among the well-known members of the Club are : Henry 
E. Abbey, the musical impresario; Governor Werts, Collin 
Armstrong, John H. V. Arnold, ex-president of the Board 
of Aldermen and president of the Democratic Club ; Samuel 
D. Babcock, Congressman Franklin Bartlett, ex-Surveyor 
Hans S. Beattie, Henry R. Beekman, William K. Vanderbilt, 
M. C. Bouvier, John M. Bowers, ex-Sheriff Peter Bowe, 
Martin B. Brown, Colonel John C. Calhoun, grandson of the 
Great Nullifier; Charles J. Canda, ex-assistant treasurer; 
Henry W. Cannon, ex-comptroller of the currency, president 
of the Chase National Bank, and commissioner at the 
Monetary Conference recently held in Brussels, and a Re- 
publican; President Grover Cleveland, Congressman W. 
Bourke Cockran, Austin Corbin, James J. Coogan, who ran 
for mayor on the Labor ticket; Macgrane Coxe, ex-assistant 
district attorney ; Chamberlain Thomas C. T. Crain, John D. 
Crimmins, Thomas E. Crimmins, Richard Croker, James R. 
Cuming, Augustin Daly, George Lord Day, Charles W. 
Dayton, Alfred de Cordova, Judge P. Henry Dugro, Harvey 
Durand, General Ferdinand P. Earle, a great friend of 
Senator Hill; Timothy C. Eastman, ex-Mayor Franklin Ed- 
son, Frank A. Ehret, the brewer; Amos Eno, Charles S. 
Fairchild, ex-secretary of the treasury; Assemblyman Per- 
cival Farquhar, Congressman John R. Fellows, Surrogate 
Frank T. Fitzgerald, Governor Flower, George F. Foster, 
Hugh R. Garden, president of the Southern Society; ex- 
Senator John Fox, Sheriff John J. Gorman, ex-Mayor Wil- 
liam R. Grrace, ex-Mayor Hugh J. Grant, Theodore Have- 
meyer, Joseph C. Hendrix, ex-postmaster of Brooklyn and 
now a congressman; Henry Hentz, ex-president of the 
Cotton Exchange; Joseph Hoadley, ex-governor of Ohio; 
Excise Commissioner Leicester Holme, William B. Horn- 
blower, Henry L. Horton, John H. Newman, ex-Senator 
Eugene S. Ives, Charles A. Jackson, formerly of the County 
Democracy and now of Tammany ; Edward Kearney, John D. 



Keman, of Utica; John King, president of the Erie; Daniel 
S. Lamont, secretary of war; Henry Marquand, Police Com- 
missioner James J. Martin, Judge Randolph B. Martine, F. 
O. Matthiessen, John A. McCall, president of the New York 
Life Insurance Company; George B. McClellan, son of 
General McClellan and president of the Board of Aldermen; 
Delos McCurdy, St. Clair McKelway, editor of the "Brook- 
lyn Eagle"; Cord Meyer, Jr., Gouvemeur W. Morris, Jordan 
L. Mott, Jr., Comptroller Theodore W. Myers, ex-Sheriff 
James O'Brien, Joseph J. O'Donohue, Herman Oelrichs, 
Oswald Ottendorfer, J. H. Parker, president of the United 
States Bank; Oliver H. Pa5me, brother-in-law of William C. 
Whitney; Wheeler H. Peckham, Francis K. Pendleton, son 
of "Gentleman George," who was minister to Germany 
and candidate for Vice-President on the McClellan ticket; 
Lloyd Phoenix, Frank Riggs, Jacob Ruppert, William Mc- 
Murtrie Speer, Edmund C. Stanton, William Steinway, 
Isidor Straus, Nathan Straus, General Sam Thomas, treas- 
urer of the Republican State Committee; Lawrence Turnure, 
Hamilton McK. Twombly, son-in-law of William H. Van- 
derbilt ; Jenkins Van Schaick, Police Justice John H. Voor- 
his, James E. Ward, the steamship man; W. Seward Webb, 
of the New York Central Railroad ; Police Justice Andrew J. 
White, Orme Wilson, who married Miss Astor, and his 
father, Richard T. Wilson, the banker ; James T. Woodward, 
president of the Hanover National Bank, and Isidor Worm- 
ser, who has just been disciplined by the Stock Exchange for 
punching a broker. 

Among the non-resident members are Thurlow Weed 
Barnes, grandson of the great Republican "boss" of the 
State thirty years ago; Wilson S. Bissell, now postmaster- 
general; George Bleistein, editor of the Buffalo "Courier"; 
Benjamin T. Cable, of the National Democratic Committee; 
Patrick Calhoim, son of the NuUifier; Caldwell H. Colt, 
owner of the "Dauntless"; John R. Drexel, of the famous 



Drexel family of Philadelphia; N. K. Fairbanks, the packer 
of Chicago; J. B. Haggin, William A. Hammond, once sur- 
geon-general of the army; George Hearst, of California; 
Benjamin Lefevre, of the National Democratic Committee 
of 1888; Thomas Lowry, the millionaire railroad manager 
of Minneapolis; Senator Edward Murphy, Jr., of Troy; Ed- 
ward J. Phelps, ex-minister to the Court of St. James; Colo- 
nel William G. Rice, formerly private secretary to Governor 
Hill; Bradley B. Smalley, National Democratic committee- 
man from Vermont; Congressman Tracey, of Albany; John 
H. Van Antwerp, of Albany; Henry Watterson, father of 
the star-eyed goddess of reform of the Blue-grass State, and 
Smith M. Weed, of Plattsburg. 

The advantages of the Manhattan Club are many. The 
best whiskey is sold there at ten cents a glass. It is the best 
in the market, and even at ten cents a glass there is a profit 
to the Club. Cigars are sold at ten per cent, over cost. The 
best whiskey is sold at other places at twenty-five cents a 
glass, and the profit on cigars in some of the swell hotels and 
cafes up-town is sometimes nearly thirty per cent. You can 
get the finest dinner in the land at the Manhattan at prices 
which are twenty-five per cent, below those charged by Del- 
monico. More famous drinks have been invented at the 
Manhattan than at any other place in the country.* 

1 None ever invented was so popular as the "Sam Ward." This was a crea- 
tion of the famous Uncle Sam Ward, and is made of yellow chartreuse, cracked 
ice, and lemon-peel. The celebrated Manhattan cocktail was inaugurated at 
the Club. This consists of equal portions of vermouth and whiskey, with a 
dash of orange bitters. Some of the later drinks are: 

Frappe New Orleans k la Graham, which consists of mint, sugar, and whis- 

Royal cup, which consists of a pint of champagne, a quart of Bordeaux, plam 
soda, one pony of brandy, one pony of maraschino, lemon juice, sugar, mint, 
fruits in season, and a cucumber. 

Manhattan cocktail a la Gilbert, consisting of Amerpicon bitters, French 
vermouth, and whiskey. 

The Manhattan cooler k la McGregor, made of lemon juice, sugar, Scotch 
whiskey, and plain soda. 

The Columbus cocktail, composed of orange bitters, acid phosphate, calisaya, 
whiskey, and a dash of curagoa. 

The Brut cocktail, made of orange bitters, acid phosphate, maraschino, and 



Mr. Riggs omits from his lifelike and charming sketch the 
feeling of hostility which from the first asserted itself against 
the Stewart mansion. It was variously called the "Marble 
Mausoleum" and the "Whited Sepulchre." Many long- 
time members of the Club were conspicuous rather by their 
absence than their presence. It was, they said, "too fine for 
comfort." The expense it entailed was out of all proportion 
to any advantage it could possibly serve, and it was both a 
personal and financial relief when, through the efforts of 
Mr. William S. Rodie and Mr. Sylvester J. O'SuUivan, the 
lease was cancelled and the removal secured to the present 
commodious and homelike club-house, purchased from the 
Jerome estate and newly refitted, at the intersection of 
Twenty-sixth Street with Madison Avenue, overlooking the 
pleascmt shades cuid greenswards of the far-famed historic 
Madison Square. 

The Riding Club cocktail, consisting of calisaya, lemon juice, and Angostura 

The Racquet cocktail, consisting of gin, vermouth, orange bitters, and creme 
de cacao. 

The Star cocktail, made of applejack, vermouth, yellow chartreuse, and 

Queen Anne cocktail, made of brandy, vermouth, orange bitters, and maras- 

The Plimpton cocktail, which consists of Jamaica rum, vermouth, and An- 
gostura bitters. 

The Smithtown cocktail, made of orange bitters, lemon juice, whiskey, and 

Indeed, the Club has drinks for every day in the year, Sundays included; for 
all seasons, and national, State, and city festivals. 

3(n iM^emorp 










A Brief Discussion of the Origin of Clubs, with some detailed Refer- 
ence to the Growth of "Political Clubs" in this Country— The State 
of the Democratic Party in the Summer of 1865— The actual Begin- 
ning of the Manhattan Club— Patriotic Motives of the Founders. 

ETWEEN the public dining-tables of what 
we call the ancient world and the organized 
clubs of modern society, many centuries in- 
tervene. Coming down from the group 
clubs of Athens and Sparta through the 
ages, we traverse a wide but not a variegate 
territory, passing the circuli, or confrater- 
nities, where Cicero found such good company and conversa- 
tion, and of which Plutarch has left us details that prove 
their laws to have been similar to the club rules of to-day; 
the old tavern and coffee-house clubs of England ; the Jaco- 
bin clubs of France and America; and, finally, the f sir-reach- 
ing, all-pervading contemporary clubs, which, according to 
Austin Leigh's Club Directory of 19 10, embrace three thou- 
sand English-speaking clubs in all parts of the world, with 
nineteen hundred and three in non-English-speaking coun- 

"Man," Addison tells us, "is a social animal," naively add- 
ing that when two or three of these "animals" find them- 


selves in agreement, they form a club. He further proceeds 
to say that since the points upon which most men agree are 
food and drink, the founders of the clubs, so organized, look 
carefully to choice viands and rare wines. Dr. Johnson de- 
clares the club to be "an assembly of good fellows meeting 
under certain conditions." Both were right. 

The most careful study of club life goes to demonstrate 
that the club dinner, whether evolved from the Attic feasts 
sung by Archestratus, or the cooking-schools of epicurean 
Rome and onward down to that of the Manhattan Club, de- 
scribed by Mr. Julius J. Lyons (whose ice-cream, he declared, 
was so superior to the ice-cream of Delmonico's, then just 
over the way from the club-house, — to be told by Judge 
Henry Wilder Allen that the Manhattan had bought that 
very ice-cream from that very Delmonico's), the ingredients 
and the chefs, have been the best the time and the town had 
to offer. 

The "certain conditions" of Dr. Johnson have varied, how- 
ever, under different demands and expediencies, and it is due 
to their broadening and amplification that such numbers of 
clubs, representing every avenue of modern development 
along lines of politics, letters, art, business, recreation and 
social life, are now in existence. 

The earliest of all the clubs, the groups of Athens, had for 
their "certain conditions" only Addison's requirement of 
food and drink, their incentive the desire of some fifteen or 
twenty congenial spirits to enjoy one another's society about 
a common dining-table. Admission to each table was by 
ballot, one black ball defeating. Elected, the newcomer was 
required to observe the established rules on pain of expul- 

The pioneer clubman of note seems to have been Themis- 
tocles, his successor being Cimon, son of Mithridates, who 
took the next step in club progress by organizing certain 
of these casual groups of co-operative diners into a select and 



Woodrow Wilson 



club members' enjoyment through any loosening of his purse 

One hundred and fifty years after Hoccleve, Sir Walter 
Raleigh immortalized the "Mermaid Tavern" of London, 
when, with Francis Bacon and Ben Jonson, he founded there 
his club of that name. 

The club thenceforward began to demonstrate its power 
and its usefulness, its history revealing that within its con- 
fines and from its discussions have originated some of the 
most important enterprises in history. At the "Mermaid" 
many books now classic were discussed in their making. 
There it was that Raleigh gave impulse to "Americana" by 
suggesting to Haikluyt the idea of editing Peter Martyr's 
"Discovery of the New World," in which he himself was so 
interested. Imperial free trade was also first threshed out 
by Raleigh at the "Mermaid," he supplying data for the dis- 
cussion from observations in Holland and Venice. Raleigh 
was thus the earliest of British empire-builders, setting in 
motion ideas which have lost little, if any, of their vitality. 

In 1 619 Ben Jonson led the survivors of the Mermaid Club 
to the more fashionable tavern of one Wadlowe, between the 
Inner Temple and Fleet Street and the Strand, known as the 
"Sign of the Devil." Down to this time the club had met at 
some convenient tavern, or public dining-table. Ben Jonson, 
in founding his new "Club of the Apollo," made one of the 
most important innovations in club history. He hired a per- 
manent room for its meetings, arranging its furniture ac- 
cording to the taste of the club, and not that of the tapster. 
The club thus acquired its own dwelling, and the casual de- 
parted from its history : an incalculable benefit, since it thus 
gave its members a species of home, offering not only physi- 
cal comforts at small cost because of co-operation, but social 
and intellectual possibilities, the charm of possession beget- 
ting in its members a proprietary interest in their own or- 



To the Apollo Club is due the inauguration of club dinners 
or "house nights," as well as that of "ladies* night," when 
members of the opposite sex were invited for social and 
musical entertainment. So fashionable did this club of 
"rare Ben Jonson" become that it has been described as a 
"monument, a reflection and an epitome of the virtues, vices, 
the social foibles and tendencies which mark its time," a 
description almost identical in suggestion with one given by 
Mr. A. J. Dufour of the Manhattan. 

The Manhattan Club has had within its fold men promi- 
nent in every calling of life : lawyers, physicians, statesmen, 
politicians, jurists, etc. It also numbers in the ranks of 
its children many who, by their mode of living, their per- 
sonal charm, and their innate knowledge of the good things 
of this life and the method of properly assimilating them, 
have made for themselves reputations which will go down in 
the annals of the Club as worthy of a greater decoration than 
the famous "Cordon Bleu," causing much rejoicing among 
the "bon-vivants," and establishing the precedence of matter 
over mind. From any point of view, there must be in a club 
a certain set of unbound, unleashed spirits acting in a sense 
as a foil to the maturer minds of the more experienced 
and conservative. To maintain the balance of a club, of a 
social and political compound, this would seem indispensable. 
As it were, it gives a certain "prestige." A glance at the 
Club*s roster, especially within the last twenty-five years, 
will demonstrate beyond the shadow of a doubt that it 
claims among its members some of the joUiest "viveurs" and 
most delightful epicureans that any city can boast: men of 
wide-travelling experience, visitors to many lands, absorbers 
of their customs and manners, who, receivers of their best 
and broadest thoughts, brought back with them to the "Old 
Manhattan" the most fruitful results of their knowledge. 
Their names are legion, and a great many of them are still 
enjoying the pleasures and comforts of this world. They 



are well known, and the Manhattan will never forget its 
debt to them. 

But before proceeding with the Manhattan, let us com- 
plete the narrative of some of its more famous English pro- 

At the Apollo politics again entered into club life, one hun- 
dred and fifty Whig loyalists in 1690 mustering at its quar- 
ters in support of William III before the Irish expedition 
and the battle of the Boyne. 

Of the Commonwealth period, the Rota, with its fluent 
but imprudent talkers, stands out pre-eminent. Coffee was 
its drink, Irish politics its conversation, and of its famous 
members Lord William Russell and Algernon Sidney lost 
their heads for complicity in the Rye House Plot. The 
founder of the Rota was Sir James Harrington. The club 
met at the "Turk's Head," a tavern of New Palace Yard, 
and was exclusively political, dying eleven weeks before 
Charles II landed at Dover. 

Of the many clubs of the Restoration period, the "Club of 
the Kings," the "Shaftesbury" and the "Civil" are most 
tj^ical. The latter, founded in 1669, marks the next sig- 
nificant departure in the scope of club life. 

The Civil Club, we learn, became a socio-commercial 
power, precursor, we may conclude, of the business club of 
to-day. It boasted also its own chaplain, and its chef first 
introduced into the club menu roast game and poultry, his 
bills of fare being those of the earliest club dinners of the 
present type. In this resume we must not forget the "pro- 
prietary" clubs. Such was "White's," founded by an Italian 
named Bianco, and run after his death by his widow, Eliza- 
beth, assisted by a Schweitzer named John James Heidegger, 
who made himself the fashion as the "Swiss Count." To him 
is claimed to be due the rise of opera in England, since with 
Mrs. White he established a bureau where tickets for the 
theatres, operas and masked balls, so frowned upon by the 



clergy, could be obtained. "White's" has been adjudged the 
precursor and model of all modern clubs, for it gave rise to 
a famous series of organizations, of which the "Kit-Kat," the 
"Rag," "Watier's," "Brooks's," "Crockford's," and "Al- 
mack's" are famous examples. 

**To 'White's,' " says T. H. S. Escott, in his "Club Making 
and Club Members," "the club system of to-day owes the 
giving of admission to a club as not only a conventional 
honor but a social credential of definite significance and 
practical value." 

This was accomplished first by the forbidding of the use 
of tobacco in any form but snuff, the method of whose taking 
was refined at "White's" to an art, at a time when smoking 
was permitted ever5rwhere else ; by a severe — and somewhat 
unjust, perhaps — discipline of the ballot; by an air of fash- 
ionable exclusiveness never relaxed; by the cultivation of 
prejudice against radical changes; and by the practice of al- 
lotting private rooms to favored habitues. 

At "White's" also could be found not only the London 
papers, but foreign ones as well; while games of cards, then 
still more or less of a novelty, were permitted, Horace Wal- 
pole confiding how he sometimes sat up there all night 
playing faro. 

After "White's" club life became modern, amplifying and 
developing the possibilities of those "certain conditions" 
until there were jockey clubs in Paris as in London, and 
army and navy, the writers, the eU^tists, the professions gen- 
erally, business, leisure, fashion, sport, religion, the rich, the 
poor, the politician, the actor, all had clubs of their own. 
Woman began to organize her clubs likewise. Golf has 
called into existence thousands all over the world. So popu- 
lar, indeed, were the luncheon clubs of the Great Metropolis 
that in 1896 there were twenty-eight thousand club men and 
women in New York City alone. 

Recurring to America, the two earliest clubs, "The Fish 



House Club" of Philadelphia and the "Hoboken Turtle 
Club" of New York, founded respectively in 1717 and 1797, 
were established upon the Addisonian basis of good fare and 
pleasant company. 

There were, however, soon after these were started, those 
early organizations known as "Sons of Liberty" and "Sons 
of St. Tammany," whose province was political, their aim 
being to arouse anti-British feeling and to disseminate know- 
ledge concerning the principles of true political liberty. One 
William Mooney, an upholsterer of 23 Nassau Street, New 
York, an ardent patriot, conceived and carried out the idea 
of organizing these "Sons of Liberty" and "Sons of St. Tam- 
many," the latter called after an Indian chief in derision of 
England*s St. George, into a society whose object was to be 
the spreading throughout the States of institutions and men 
bent on the preservation of a just balance of power, an object 
declared to be both republican and patriotic. This club 
chose for its name "The Society of St. Tammany," or the 
"Columbian Order," and it quickly arranged magnificent 
parades in which its members, bearing high-sounding Indian 
titles, were dressed as native American chiefs and tricked out 
in all their war paint and feathers. 

Opposed as this club was to every trend of aristocracy, it 
counted as its natural enemy the newly organized "Society 
of the Cincinnati," whose members, including Washington, 
were officers that had survived the Revolution. The chief 
feature of this club, condemned by Thomas Jefferson as lead- 
ing Democracy towards Aristocracy both in theory and 
practice, was its exclusiveness. It even planned to have its 
membership and insignia pass down by primogeniture in- 

Aaron Burr became the idol of Tammany, Alexander 
Hamilton of the Cincinnati, the former actually striving to 
bring Burr into favor again after his fall. 

More troublesome to the government were the Jacobin 


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into a 



Samuel J. Tilden 


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whose object wa 

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clubs, thorn in the flesh of Washington's administration, 
and directly opposed to his policy of non-interference in 
European politics. Their avowed object was the creating of 
sympathy with Republican France, then in the early stages 
of her Revolution, and they spread with alarming rapidity. 
While Tammany only succeeded in starting affiliated clubs 
at Philadelphia, Lexington (Kentucky), Brooklyn and Provi- 
dence, Jacobin clubs sprang to life everywhere, — one, the 
"Society of Charleston, S. C," on its own application, being 
accepted by the Jacobin Club of Paris as a branch. A record 
of their queer propaganda, their processions and parades, 
their toasts of "Long live France and Robespierre !" and all 
their paraphernalia of Liberty, has been described for pos- 
terity by a writer calling himself "Peter Porcupine." 

Though they came to an end as Jacobin clubs, public S5mi- 
pathy dying away as France proceeded to her excesses, one, 
"The Democratic Society" of Philadelphia, at that time the 
seat of government, modelled upon the Jacobin Club of 
Paris, lives on in American politics as the Democratic Party, 
which, having Thomas Jefferson for its father, continues to 
promulgate and jealously to guard his doctrines. 

In 1805 the "Society of St. Tammany" divided itself into 
two sections, the new division, under the guise of being or- 
ganized to aid widows and orphans and others in need, tak- 
ing the name of Tammany Hall. It became quickly a 
political rallying-ground, its early idol, Aaron Burr, being 
succeeded in the course of years by many leaders. Originally 
its aims were the spreading of Democracy by speeches, pam- 
phlets and all social means in its power, its methods being 
evolved in the "Long Room" at Nassau and Spruce Streets, 
where the members gathered to "smoke and swap stories." 
Among its real services to the country were the securing of 
manhood suffrage and the abolition of laws imprisoning 

The first club of New York founded on the lines of the 



London social clubs was the "Union," organized in 1836, and 
followed, after ten years, by the "Century." 

The year i860 found Tammany Hall pro-Slavery, with its 
political rival, Mozart Hall, out and out for the Union. The 
Northern Democrats, however, stood, in the final issue, by 
the Federal Government, and in 1864 nominated McClellan 
for the Presidency, against Lincoln. 

With the re-election of Lincoln, the Democratic Party 
expected to endure the oblivion of defeat, when, by the as- 
sassination of Lincoln, Andrew Johnson came to the Presi- 
dential chair, and its hopes revived, since Johnson, though a 
Southerner who had remained loyal when his State of Ten- 
nessee had seceded, was fundamentally imbued with Jeff er- 
sonian principles. 

The whole country, in 1865, was in a state of confusion. 
The main issue, however, was the policy to be adopted 
towards the conquered South. The Democratic Party 
sought the restoration, not the subjugation, of the South. 
There were many questions relating to "the States lately in 
rebellion," the status of the negro, the reduction of the army 
and navy, the Freedman's Bureau, and other political in- 
strumentalities designed more or less to fix Republican su- 
premacy. The dominant majority, radicalized by the assas- 
sination of Lincoln, stood for "Reconstruction" at whatever 
cost. Such was the situation in 1865. Democracy, seeing its 
opportunity, began plans of revitalization. The Republicans 
had foimded a club, the Union League, which by social, in- 
tellectual, and political prestige was to advance that party's 
interests. It had rendered invaluable service in the campaign 
of 1864, when General George B. McClellan was defeated by 
Abraham Lincoln. 

Tammany Hall, at the time, was practically the only 
Democratic club in New York. Its scope was not identical 
with that which, in the opinion of Mr. Douglas Taylor, was 
plainly required for the work to be done. Mr. Taylor, ac- 



cordingly, at a meeting of the "McClellan Executive Com- 
mittee," of which he was secretary, held at Delmonico's in 
the winter of 1864-5, proposed the formation of a more 
authoritative Democratic body. His idea was received with 
enthusiasm, and during the early weeks of the following 
spring certain gentlemen of Democratic principles met at 
Mr. Taylor's office, at the office of Mr. Augustus Schell, at 
the home of Mr. Manton Marble, and at Delmonico's to form 
plans for the founding of a Democratic club whose object 
was to be "the advancing of Democratic principles, the pro- 
motion of social intercourse among its members, and the 
providing them with the conveniences of a club-house." The 
summer vacations interfering, nothing was finally done until 
the fall, when the "Manhattan Club" was chosen for its 
name and certain gentlemen referred to in the records as 
"representative Democrats who might fitly be associated 
together as to its nucleus and managing committee," were 

This committee, holding meetings with Mr. Augustus 
Schell in the chair, instructed Mr. G. W. McLean and Mr. 
Douglas Taylor "to prepare lists of the names of Democrats 
who might properly be invited to become members of the 
Club." At the same meeting Mr. Manton Marble was in- 
structed to draw up a constitution, which was amended and 

The organization thus arranged was effected September 
25, 1865, at up-town Delmonico's, then at the corner of Fifth 
Avenue and Fourteenth Street. The officers elected were : 

President : John Van Buren. 
Vice-President: Augustus Schell. 
Treasurer: Wilson G. Hunt. 
Secretary : Manton Marble. 

Later along, November 17, Mr. Hiram Cranston was 
added to the House Committee, and General John A. Dix 



having declined membership, Dean Richmond of Buffalo 
was elected to his place on the Managing Committee. Such 
was the official beginning of the Manhattan Club. Behind 
this lies the story of how Mr. Taylor, active in the Young 
Men's Democratic Union Club of 1857, with its "Grand 
Presidential Ball" in honor of the election of Buchanan and 
Breckenridge, and its annual balls at the City Assembly 
Rooms, and treasurer of the Young Democracy of New 
York of 1858, believing, after the war, that a Democratic 
club, other than Tammany Hall, the sole survivor, was nec- 
essary, went about its accomplishment. 

"The Manhattan Club really had its start in 1864," he 
stated in the New York "Sun" of October 23, 1910, "when 
George B. McClellan was running for President. He was 
in the *World' office nearly every day, and I used to talk to 
him. He went at first to see Manton Marble, and took as lit- 
tle interest in the campaign as anybody you ever saw. One 
day I said, ^General, let's get up a club,' and he said he 
thought I could launch a club without any trouble, — a club 
for gentlemen, — and the more and more we talked about it 
the better it seemed. 

"We had the first meeting in my office, in Chambers Street 
— I was Commissioner of Jurors then. Then we went in 
search of a place, and Marble had two or three meetings at 
his office. At the first meeting of all Charles P. Daly came. 
The Club was practically organized in April, 1865. 

"John Kelly never would join this Club. We got in John 
Van Buren, James T. Brady, Henry Hilton, and John R. 
Brady, and the better class of judges— Judges Bosworth, 
Sanford E. Church, Chief Justice of the Court of Appeals, 
William F. Allen, D. P. Ingraham, Monell, William E. Cur- 
tis, Daly, Comstock, Charles F. MacLean, O' Gorman, 
Rapallo, Abraham R. Lawrence, Samuel Jones, and so forth. 
We also had Horatio Seymour, Samuel J. Tilden, Commo- 
dore Vanderbilt, Dean Richmond, Samuel L. M. Barlow, 



John McKeon, General John A. Dix, George Law, Thomas 
F. Bayard, John T. Hoffman, Samuel S. Cox, Charles 
0*Conor, William Butler Duncan, Gulian C. Verplanck, 
August Belmont, Augustus Schell, Sidney Webster, George 
H. Pendleton, William C. Prime, Francis Kernan, and Com- 
modore Garrison. There were giants in those days. 

"In 1866 we elected Andrew Johnson. We expected that 
if he would come to a Democratic meeting we would make a 
Democrat of him. I think he was about four-fifths one at that 
time. Only two black balls were necessary out of twenty- 
five to reject, because, as Manton Marble used to say, it was 
necessary to keep it a high-toned club, and he exerted his 
great influence to have only gentlemen admitted." 

Fortunately, Mr. Taylor, whose death occurred three 
years ago, preserved a copy of the original notice sent out to 
possible members. It reads : 

New York, April 18, 1865. 
Dear Sir: — 

You are earnestly 
requested to meet a few 
friends at the office 
of the Commissioner of 
Jurors (No. 3 Chambers St.) 
on Thursday afternoon 
the 20th next at 4 o'clock 
to confer in reference 
to our proposed 
Democratic City 

Yours respectfully 

Douglas Taylor. 
Joel Wolfe. 
George W. McLean. 
Edward L. Corliss. 
M. B. Spaulding. 


Besides the committee, Democrats who responded were 
Messrs. W. D. French, C. P. Daly, Daniel E. Delavan, Mayor 
C. Godfrey Gunther, John T. Hoffman, George W. McLean, 
Edward L. Corliss, Joseph W. Corliss, James T. Brady, 
Nathaniel Jarvis, Udolpho Wolfe, M. B. Spaulding. 

Among Mr. Douglas Taylor's papers, kindly placed at the 
disposition of the compiler of this history by his daughter. 
Miss Clara Taylor, of New York, are the signatures of all the 
original members. In addition to these facts given by Mr. 
Taylor himself, Mr. Henry M. Steven, in an article on the 
Club in the "House and Country" magazine of some fifteen 
or more years ago, has added the information that following 
Mr. Taylor's proposal to found a Democratic club, events 
were delayed by Democratic defeats, but that when Mr. 
Gulian C. Verplanck, one of the founders of the Century 
Club, was defeated for its presidency merely because of his 
Democracy, active steps were at once taken, with the Man- 
hattan Club as the result. 



The First Club-house— Early Presidents of the Club— 
"Prince John" Van Buren 

HE three leading clubs in New York City, 
when the Manhattan Club began to be con- 
sidered and discussed, were the "Union," 
then on Bond Street, dating back to 1836; 
the "Century," then on Broome Street, 
founded in 1846, "for the cultivation of let- 
ters as well as social life, and to entertain 
and introduce strangers"; and the "Union League," organ- 
ized in 1863 by New York Republicans, with its club-house 
on Madison Square. 

The Manhattan aimed from its inception to take rank with 
these, and for forty years the four continued to be the most 
important organizations in the club life of New York. 

It was on October 12, 1865, that the first businesslike 
steps were taken towards securing a suitable club-house, 
Mr. George T. Curtis, Judge Henry Hilton, and Mr. William 
F. Allen on that date being appointed a committee "to in- 
quire and report in what mode this Club can be organized as 
a voluntary association until it can be organized as a cor- 
poration, and to present a plan for that purpose." 
Ten days later, this committee, through Mr. Curtis, re- 



ported that, in its opinion, the new Club could not conve- 
niently be organized under the law of the last legislature for 
incorporating similar institutions, as the law then stood, and 
it therefore recommended that, in addition to the organiza- 
tion already provided for by the Constitution, three trustees 
should be chosen to hold the titles of all real or personal 
property which might be acquired by the Club, these trus- 
tees, described as joint tenants, to give a declaration of trust 
to the Governing Committee that they held the property in 
trust for the use and occupation of the members of the Man- 
hattan Club, or of those who might become members, in 
pursuance of its Constitution and By-Laws. 

This Declaration of Trust was to be recorded in the min- 
utes of the Governing Committee, the original copy to be 
held by the Secretary. Should a trustee resign or die, his 
remaining colleagues were to appoint his successor, a new 
conveyance to the Board of Trustees, as it then stood, being 
made by the surveyors and a new Declaration of Trust being 
given. All club property of a personal nature, except pro- 
visions and food stores, was to be held in this manner like- 
wise, the trustees to convey all property thus held to any 
corporation into which the Club later might be organized. 

This report being satisfactory. Judge Hilton was commis- 
sioned to conclude the purchase of the Benkard house, upon 
the southeast corner of Fifth Avenue and Fifteenth Street, at 
a price not exceeding $110,000, Mr. Curtis at the same time 
being empowered to draw up a Declaration of Trust along 
the lines of the report of his committee. 

Judge Hilton, John Van Buren, and William Butler Dun- 
can were named as the three trustees, and Augustus Schell, 
treasurer pro tern., was instructed to send out notice to such 
Democrats as had accepted membership, announcing the tak- 
ing of a club-house and requesting their checks for $200 to 
cover the initiation fee of $150 and the annual dues of $50. 

The first member to subscribe towards the purchase of 



this club-house was Mr. August Belmont, who offered the 
sum of $10,000. Almost $55,000 was at once pledged as a 
consequence of Mr. Belmont's confidence in the future of 
the Club. 

At the same time, the House Committee was named and 
asked to prepare a set of By-Laws for the use of the Club, 
which, presented and amended, on January 5 were, with the 
House Rules and Regulations, adopted. 

The Rules of Order, adopted on December 11, were pre- 
sented by Mr. Manton Marble, acting as secretary pro tern. 
Later, Mr. Marble, remembered as the one-time owner and 
editor of the New York "World," who made his home for 
many years at the old University Club, became president of 
the Manhattan Club, succeeding Judge Aaron J. Vanderpoel 
and serving from 1886 to 1888. Previous to that he acted as 
first secretary of the Club (i 865-1 876). Unfortunately, he 
was never what was termed "a regular" at the Club, but ap- 
peared only when some special occasion required. In the 
old days at "No. 96," as the new club-house came to be 
called, Mr. Marble, with William Henry Hurlbert, also of 
the "World," William C. Prime, Ben Wood, and James 
Brooks, represented the Press. 

It was a current joke that the political trio, August Bel- 
mont, S. L. M. Barlow, and Samuel J. Tilden, with Manton 
Marble, edited the "World." 

At the meeting of October 12 an appropriation had been 
made for the purchase of furnishings and other necessities, 
and so well did Judge Hilton and the House Committee do 
their work that, on November 7, the Managing Committee 
was able to hold its meeting in the dining-room of the new 
club-house. There were present Messrs. John Van Buren, 
William Butler Duncan, Augustus Schell, Manton Marble, 
Edward L. Corliss, Andrew H. Green, John T. Hoffman, 
George W. McLean, William F. Allen, Douglas Taylor, S. 
L. M. Barlow, with Mr. Hiram Cranston by invitation. 



The Benkard house, from 1865 to 1890 the home of the 
Manhattan Club, is remembered by old New-Yorkers as 
a very handsome building with a fifty-foot frontage on Fifth 
Avenue and a large garden to the rear on Fifteenth Street. 
When arranged for club use, the first floor boasted a fine, 
spacious reading-room with windows commanding both the 
avenue and the street, a smaller apartment serving as a re- 
ception-room. In later years an innovation was made by 
enlarging the balcony to the rear on this floor, and summer 
visitors to New York in the late eighties can well remember 
Club members enjoying refreshments at the twenty or more 
tables of this delightful open-air dining-room. 

Mr. Julius J. Lyons, in recalling the early years of the 
Club, tells us that there was then more sociability among the 
members than there is to-day; and if this be true, as it must 
be admitted to be, it implies that the early members were 
mainly personal friends, and that New York was very much 
smaller then than now. 

The officers, once the Manhattan had its home, were au- 
thorized to procure a special act of incorporation for the 
Club, or such an amendment of the general act as would 
permit the same to be done. This, however, was not brought 
about until February, 1877. 

The Manhattan, which had been organized in support of 
the new Chief Magistrate of the Nation, on March 12, 1866, 
elected Andrew Johnson an honorary member, and ap- 
pointed a committee, consisting of Messrs. John Van Buren, 
August Belmont, and Augustus Schell, to engage an artist 
to paint the President's portrait, it being the "earnest desire 
of the Club to adorn their walls with the representation of 
the form and lineaments of a statesman and patriot whose 
efforts to restore the peace and union of our distracted coun- 
try and whose just and fearless rebukes of disunionists 
command and secure their unanimous, cordial, and enthu- 
siastic approbation." 



The President replied in the following: 

Executive Mansion, 
Washington, D. C, 
March 22, 1866. 

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter 
of the 1 2th instant, informing me of my election as an Hon- 
orary Member of the Manhattan Club of New York City, 
and asking me to allow an artist of your selection to take a 
full-length portrait of myself for your Club. 

In communicating to you my acceptance of these compli- 
ments, I desire to thank you sincerely for them and for the 
friendly expressions of support and encouragement you ten- 
der me in the discharge of my public duties. An honest and 
clear conviction of duty, and consciousness of rectitude of 
purpose, the unwavering support of the American people 
and the blessing of an all-wise Providence, will, I believe, 
enable me to meet any emergency. I feel that I have the 
first two ; and it shall be the object of my every endeavor to 
deserve the remaining requisites. 

I am, gentlemen, with great respect. 

Your obedient servant, 
Andrew Johnson. 
Jno. Van Buren, Esq., ] 

Jno. T. Hoffman, Esq., l^^^^''^^ Committee, 
. , Manhattan Club, 

et al.y 

In May the Club voted $25,000 for the improvement of its 
club-house, and at the same meeting decided that no report- 
ers were to be admitted to private dinners in any of its din- 

Before the Club was a year old it suffered the loss of its 
first president, John Van Buren, whose death occurred at 
sea, on the steamer "Scotia," on his return trip from a short 
tour in Europe. 



Samuel J. Tilden, whose name first appears in Club annals 
as one of the Managing Committee at its meeting of Decem- 
ber 5, 1865, August Belmont, and Manton Marble composed 
a committee which drew up resolutions on the death of Mr. 
Van Buren, Mr. William Butler Duncan being commissioned 
to order a kit-kat portrait of the late Club president to be 
done by the artist Lazarus for the Club walls. The club- 
house was draped, for the first time, in crape until after the 
funeral of its president, the entire Club attending his funeral 
at Grace Church in a body. 

A lawyer by profession, eminent both as advocate and 
counsellor, John Van Buren was a born clubman. He was 
idolized by the Democrats who founded the Manhattan. 
Known as "Prince John," he charmed by his kindly and cor- 
dial temper, his gracious manners and his social ways, not 
less than by his scintillant intellect, his wide experience and 
his unfailing humor. He was a popular orator of the first 
order, unrivalled in drawing vast audiences and holding 
them by the logic of his argument and the magnetism of his 

Born of statesmanship environment, from his earliest 
years the affairs of government interested him above all 
things else, his elevation of character keeping him aloof 
from self-interest in his political activities. He held it un- 
professional to accept employment in any way connected 
with party influence or relation. What he gave of his time 
and talents to politics was a free-will offering. It was mat- 
ter of comment that John Van Buren might have made a 
fortune many times over, had his abilities been turned to his 
own account, rather than to the service of his country. Liv- 
ing, as he did, during the most trying years of American 
history, he never lost belief in the people, never despaired of 
the Republic, and, while ready to preserve the Union by con- 
ciliation, was resolved to maintain it by force, if need be, 
through all the trying period of the war holding fast to his 




John Van Buren 

tinan tot 

[ the mu;>t ti. 



belief in the greatness and glory of a constitutional govern- 
ment as conceived and founded by the fathers. 

"Prince John" had for bosom friend the brilliant and pro- 
found James T. Brady, dubbed "King James." The two 
were voted the "Damon and Pythias" of the Manhattan, 
"Prince John" being also known as the "Wamba" of Demo- 
cratic politics. 

He was "a splendid fellow in every way," Mr. Douglas 
Taylor stated in the interview he gave the New York "Sun" 
on the occasion of his eightieth birthday. "He died sud- 
denly on his way home from England. I remember his giv- 
ing me a little carte de visite of himself standing up ; the 
portrait taken from it is in the Manhattan Club. He lived in 
Fourth Avenue part of the time, somewhere near Twentieth 
Street. He had a daughter living in England, but few knew 
anything of his more private and domestic life." 

On November 2, 1866, Mr. Augustus Schell, the Club's 
vice-president, was elected to fill Mr. Van Buren's place, Mr. 
Anthony L. Robertson succeeding Mr. Schell, Mr. Sidney 
Webster taking Mr. Van Buren's place among the managers, 
other officers remaining the same. As Mr. Dean Richmond 
had also been removed by death from the Managing Com- 
mittee, Horatio Seymour was appointed in his place. 

Like John Van Buren, Dean Richmond was a pride of the 
Democracy, which had made him an active governor of its 
Club. He was a leader, known alike "for his clear and mas- 
sive intellect and for his sound and noble heart." In the 
social intercourse of the Club, the members counted him a 
just, kindly, and genial comrade. He was a man of great 
grasp of public affairs, of insight, generosity, and resolute 
will, a loss in every way to the Club, which recognized him 
not only as one of its founders, but as a wise and needful 
guide to its steps in this first year of its life. 


'No. 96" — Customs and Laws— Douglas Taylor— The Famous Trio 
— "Cadaverous Ben" — Well-known Members — The Bateman-Cran- 
ston Incident. 

T was not long before "No. 96" wore the 
look of the well-established club-house. 
The attendants, forty in number, with the 
exception of the superintendent, appeared 
in a livery consisting of a blue dress-suit 
with gilded buttons. The Club quickly 
acquired a good library, the nucleus of 
which seems to have been a large donation of books for 
which the Hon. Nelson Taylor was thanked, February 2, 
1866. It also kept its reading-room well supplied with cur- 
rent literature, and quickly hung its walls with portraits of 
prominent members and the fine engravings then so much 
the expression of American art. 

By 1873, the membership reached six hundred, the annual 
dues amounting to $30,000. 

The rules from the beginning were very strict. Lights 
were not permitted in the card-room after 2.30 a.m. Mem- 
bers could not be admitted between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m., and the 
steward was not required to fill orders after i a.m. Whist, 
according to Baldwin, with a $5 stake, was the only game 



permitted. Smoking in the restaurant was forbidden, and 
no members could sleep on lounges or sofas except on the 
third floor. Members who broke china or damaged furniture 
had to settle for it before leaving the house. Drink could not 
be served in the reception-room. 

The Club, too, was strict about guests, members being 
permitted to introduce persons, not members, residing 
within thirty miles of the City Hall, only to the dining-room. 
Members were forbidden to fee servants, nor could they or- 
der private dinners of more than four covers. 

The restaurant of the "No. 96" days was the most cele- 
brated in New York, and the saying went that because of its 
fame, outrivalling even Delmonico's, no other club-house in 
New York City was so closely frequented by its members. 
Its system of payment, however, while very agreeable, led, 
as we shall discover later, to embarrassing consequences. 

No accounts were kept, every member being expected to 
settle his accounts before he left. As we are told, this rule 
was not always enforced. There was another which ordered 
every m.ember in arrears for a week to be bulletined. If 
posted thirty days, he would become liable to expulsion. 

The regular meeting of the Club, also an annual reunion, 
took place on the first Thursday in October. The Board of 
Managers, on the other hand, met every month. In these 
comfortable surroundings the Club grew and flourished, and 
before long counted on its roster the leading Democrats of 
New York City. One always seen at "No. 96" was Douglas 
Taylor, its founder. No man in his day was more widely 
known or better liked than the Commissioner of Jurors. 
Son of an Episcopal clergyman, Mr. Taylor turned his 
back upon Columbia, gave up his opening with Lawrence 
the banker, and, like Benjamin Franklin, took to type and 
ink. Like him, also, he married his first employer's daugh- 
ter at the early age of nineteen. Printing was a passion with 
him, eind his establishment became justly renowned. He 



was owner of the New York "Sentinel," and one of the most 
popular men of his day. It was Douglas Taylor who, after 
the fall of Tweed, when there were no more bouquets nor 
huzzaing crowds for the once courted boss, with his wife 
sought him out as he sat deserted in his sleeper, and spoke to 
him, quite as of old. It was he who received the newspaper 
reporters at the Club, and who had a kind word for every- 
body. He had been a sachem of Tammany Hall in its ante- 
bellum days, also its secretary, and for many years was 
Commissioner of Jurors. He was instrumental in bringing 
S. S. Cox to New York and electing him to Congress just 
after the war. Mr. Taylor lived to the age of eighty-two, 
dying only two years before the semi-centenary of the Club. 

In these days Cornelius Vanderbilt, called the "Com- 
modore," was an every-day habitue of the Club, an inveter- 
ate whist-player, and a man of most striking appearance. 

The Law, at "No. 96," was then represented by Judges 
Ingraham, Hilton, Barnard, Russell, Clerke, Daly, Curtis, 
Comstock, Garvin the "learned and eloquent," O'Gorman 
"the brilliant and impulsive," and "keen and thoughtful" 
John E. Burrill; the actors, by Lester Wallack, Joseph Jef- 
ferson, and Dion Boucicault. 

General Slocum represented the military; August Bel- 
mont, very English in appearance, wearing London tweeds, 
English whiskers, one button of his coat fastened over his 
shirt front, S. L. M. Barlow, and Samuel J. Tilden were a 
notable trio; and James T. Brady — "King James" — brilliant, 
yet profound and learned, was noted in the courts for his 
famous pleas, and at the Manhattan for his inimitable jokes. 

Another notable member of the "No. 96" days was Oswald 
Ottendorf er, the German editor ; still another was Benjamin 
Wood, familiarly known as "Cadaverous Ben," from his pal- 
lid, almost ghastly coloring and lean figure. Imperturbable 
in manner, his curiously alert face, combined with its pallor, 
made him, once seen, always remembered. 



In the course of time a few Tammany men became mem- 
bers, Peter B. Sweeny (called by his enemies "the spider of 
Tammany politics"), A. Oakey Hall, and John T. Hoffman 
representing the organization. Oakey Hall was noted for a 
certain elegance of dress as well as for literary attainments. 

A celebrated member was George Ticknor Curtis, the 
biographer of Webster. Quite clerical in appearance, aus- 
tere and dark, he was yet thought to resemble August Bel- 
mont. He was highly cultivated and ready as a speaker. 
Horatio Seymour, Andrew H. Green (remarked for his Lord 
Brougham nose), John T. Agnew, General McClellan, 
"Uncle Sam" Ward, and "Winter Garden" Stuart were 
other early members. At the club-house, also, were to be 
seen General Hancock, Hon. George H. Pendleton, Gulian 
C. Verplanck, ex-President Franklin Pierce, and ex-Presi- 
dent James Buchanan. The only member reputed a Repub- 
lican was Thurlow Weed. 

"No. 96," gossip said, saw many of the leading events of 
that day concocted in its club-rooms. It was declared that 
Seymour and Blair were nominated there in conclave, and 
that there Vanderbilt and Belmont talked of more than 
whist. It was from the Manhattan that the "Commodore" 
despatched the message to the judge who had sent for him, 
that he could not come because "he was too far behind the 

It was at "No. 96" likewise that the sensational Bateman- 
Cranston incident occurred. H. L. Bateman, the father of 
the famous actress, Kate Bateman, and both her manager 
and that of Parepa Rosa, disregarding club rules, introduced 
a friend. Hiram Cranston, proprietor of the New York 
Hotel, at that time on the House Committee, forbade an at- 
tendant serving Mr. Bateman eind his guest, with the result 
that the manager made a personal attack on him, and then 
offered his resignation. The governors of the Club, how- 
ever, refused to accept it, and expelled him. 


The Old Benkard House— Recollections of Mr. Lyons— "Uncle Dave" 
Gilbert and General Martin T. McMahon— Wilder Allen, the 
Practical Joker. 

T was in 1869 that Mr. Julius J. Lyons joined 
the Manhattan Club. One of the first things 
he was told was that he should have joined 
a few months earlier, for then he would 
have had the pleasure of enjoying the 
nightly sessions of a very entertaining 
group of prominent men of the day, — Frank 
Work, Horace F. Clark, Richard Schell, Ben Wood, Hiram 
Cranston, William Turnbull, — who, on winter evenings, 
were in the habit of gathering about the blazing logs in the 
great open fireplace of the front parlor of the Benkard house, 
old Commodore Vanderbilt himself leading the conversa- 

As it was, Mr. Lyons found in the Club much lively com- 
pany and many striking characters, men of the sixties, 
among them Judge Henry Wilder Allen, then secretary of 
the Club and a great practical joker, Mr. Lyons being his 
victim on the occasion of the comparison between the Club's 
and Delmonico's ice-cream. 

Another early member was Simon Sterne, political econ- 


The Old B«nkara House- 

Augustus Schell 

I ir>|r^f_ T\.^ it-vvji- 


omist and able lawyer. Mr. Sterne, also, was fond of his 
joke. One day Mr. Lyons, whose tastes ran towards the in- 
tellectual and whose Club haunt was the library, was stopped 
by Mr. Sterne with : 

"Well, Lyons, you come down town very late. I saw 
you, yesterday, going into your office after twelve." 

"Yes," answered Mr. Lyons, "I was coming from my 
French lesson." 

"But to-day," retorted Mr. Sterne, "you are also very late 
for a business man !" 

"Yes," agreed Lyons, "but I am coming from my German 

Sterne gave him a withering glance. 

"Look here," he said, "does it take three languages, Lyons, 
to show what a fool you are?" 

That Mr. Lyons had his own retort ready when he needed 
it is shown by the answer he gave "Sunset" Cox on the occa- 
sion of his presentation to Mr. Lyons in the large room of 
the old Benkard house. 

Cox, then in the public eye as member of Congress, and 
prominent in national politics, to be facetious, rallied Mr. 
Lyons upon the lack of resemblance between the ferocious 
animal suggested by his name and his peaceful personality. 

Quick as a flash, Mr. Lyons, suiting action to his word, 
retorted : 

"Let others hail the rising *Sun,* 
I bow to him whose race is run." 

And the laugh turned on "Sunset." 

In those early days most visitors to the old Benkard 
house were subjected to an ordeal in passing the desk of a 
certain Mr. Quinn, long in the employ of the Club, and, for 
many years before his death, on its pension list. 

Mr. Quinn believed firmly in the verdict of his day that 
membership in the Manhattan Club was a badge of aris- 



tocracy. To maintain its standard of exclusiveness, he as- 
sumed a belligerent air to all intruders, and for a visitor to 
pass his desk was an open credential of that visitor's im- 
portance. So well did he guard its sacred precincts that on 
January lo, 1889, when a small fire broke out in one of the 
rooms, he, with outraged dignity, opposed the entrance of 
the firemen, and suffered in consequence some very rough 
handling. It was his pride that, while the Club was Demo- 
cratic in politics, it was aristocratic in its clientele, and espe- 
cially so in its table and wine-cellar. It was to his great 
satisfaction, too, that the chefs of the Manhattan were of 
equal standing with the Delmonico chefs across the Avenue. 

A memorable personality of the Manhattan Club was 
General Martin T. McMahon. 

General McMahon had a gallant war record, having from 
San Francisco, where he was then living, started for the 
front on the outbreak of hostilities. He gained his soldierly 
fame, however, in the armies of the East. He was a member 
of the Manhattan almost from its birth, joining in June, 
1866, a little over six months after its organization. 

Sixteen years later the General formed a close and lasting 
friendship with a new member, perhaps the most striking 
personality ever on the Manhattan Club's roster. This was 
David B. Gilbert, familiarly known as "Uncle Dave," and 
aptly named its "Watch-dog." For twenty years "Uncle 
Dave" made the Manhattan Club his home, and for seven- 
teen of these he acted as secretary of the Club and served on 
its Board of Managers. It would be difficult to parallel the 
intense love and devotion — almost religious in its fervor, 
says Mr. Lyons — which he displayed, every moment of his 
life, towards the advancement of the best interests of the 

Before he retired from business, selling out his seat on the 
New York Stock Exchange after amassing a competency, he 
was always to be found in the afternoon at the Club, a fact 



which drew thither a number of men who came solely for his 
company, he being very popular and one of those who attract 
and keep about them their own little circle of intimates. 
After he retired he seldom left the club-house, and, to see that 
proper order was maintained in all directions about it, he had 
himself made a deputy sheriff and proudly wore his badge of 
office. From that moment he became the terror of every 
organ-grinder and fruit-cart vender who ventured into the 

By blowing his whistle, which he relentlessly did, those 
gentry would disperse to the four winds as quickly as leaves 
before a wind-storm. If one took his chance and returned, 
but at a safe distance, there was "Uncle Dave" on the watch 
for him. 

"Uncle Dave" and General McMahon became inseparable, 
and only the death of the latter broke their manly and 
notable friendship. They always dined together, and were 
never apart, eating their meals in the dining-room of the 
suite occupied by Mr. Gilbert, and spending the rest of the 
evenings refighting the war and re-electing all the ante-bel- 
lum Presidents. 

The two had a common peculiarity : neither ever went into 
the Club dining-room. After the General's death, "Uncle 
Dave," being very lonesome, would wander in, grow uneasy 
and wander out. For a time in their friendship the two had 
a common friend in General Alfred L. Tyler, who shared 
their society. General Tyler, a man of strong characteristics 
and indomitable will, was the founder of Anniston, Alabama, 
which town, by his influence, wealth, and enterprise, as well 
as innate perseverance and ability, he carried through to suc- 
cess in the face of incalculable hardships and obstacles. 

Still another early member, elected February 5, 1869, as 
vice-president of the Club, was Samuel L. M. Barlow, re- 
called for the members of to-day by Mr. Solomon Hanford. 
Here is Mr. Hanf ord's "memorandum" : 



"He was for many years a prominent figure among the 
early members of the Club, besides being in the foremost 
rank in the legal profession in a career which commenced in 
1847, when he reached his majority, down to 1889, when he 
died at the age of sixty-three. He was a *bon-viveur' in the 
best sense of the term; belonged to and was a conspicuous 
member of a coterie composed, among other prominent men, 
of August Belmont, William R. Travers, Manton Marble, 
William Butler Duncan, Abram S. Hewitt, and Edward 
Cooper, and was always high in the councils of the Demo- 
cratic Party. From an early age he took an active interest 
in public affairs and carried on an extended correspondence 
with men in public life, notably with Daniel Webster, James 
Buchanan, and other men nationally prominent. He had 
barely reached his majority before he was appointed by 
Webster special envoy of the United States to Mexico. As 
executor of the will of Charles P. Chouteau of St. Louis he 
owned Dred Scott at the time of the famous decision of the 
United States Supreme Court on the subject of slavery. 
While James Buchanan was minister to England, Mr. Bar- 
low, who was one of his closest friends, interested himself in 
Mr. Buchanan's candidacy for the Presidency, and actively 
promoted his election. At the outbreak of the Civil War he 
was on terms of close friendship with Judah P. Benjamin and 
most of the other leading men of the Southern Confederacy, 
and this friendship was maintained to the end. He actively 
and efficiently exerted himself in connection with the release 
of the Confederate commissioners. Mason and Slidell, and in 
the case of the 'Savannah' privateer gave his counsel and 
assistance in defense of the prisoners. He took a prominent 
part in the nomination and election of Samuel J. Tilden. 

"Mr. Barlow was a remarkable man in many ways. Joined 
to a sterling character, his personality was such as to attract 
every one with whom he came in contact, and he was open- 
handed in the relief of every deserving case which came 



under his notice. He had an intuitive knowledge of law and 
unerring judgment, and he possessed the marvellous faculty 
of straightening out legal complications in which others had 
failed, and of drawing complicated legal instruments, writ- 
ing them out in his own hand in such form as to enable his 
first draft to be immediately executed without requiring an 
important correction, a faculty which was declared by many 
of his contemporaries to be possessed by probably no other 
lawyer at this Bar. For over twenty years before his death 
Mr. Barlow resided on the corner of Madison Avenue and 
Twenty-third Street, the house which he owned, and where 
he entertained royally many of the most prominent men in 
the country, occupying part of the site now occupied by the 
Metropolitan Life Building. His son, Peter Townsend Bar- 
low, is serving his second term as one of the magistrates of 
the City of New York, his appointment to a second term by 
Mayor Gaynor being one of the last acts of that official." 

Another early member, one destined to play a prominent 
part on the stage of Democracy, was Samuel J. Tilden. In 
the first year of the Club, Mr. Tilden was one of the Man- 
aging Committee, his colleagues being : 

Wm. F. Allen John T. Hoffman 

S. L. M. Barlow Manton Marble 

August Belmont Charles O'Conor 

James T. Brady Edwards Pierrepont 

Horace F. Clark Wm. C. Prime 

Edward Cooper Dean Richmond 

Hiram Cranston Anthony L. Robertson 

Geo. Ticknor Curtis Augustus Schell 

Wm. Butler Duncan Douglas Taylor 

Andrew H. Green John Van Buren 

Henry Hilton Gulian C. Verplanck 

Still another well-known member of the Club, in its first 



year, was Judge Henry Hilton, who, with George W. Mc- 
Lean and Hiram Cranston, formed the first House Commit- 
tee, whose duty, according to the first Constitution, was to 
make all necessary purchases for the Club, fix the prices of 
articles sold in the Club, and, in general, transact its current 
business and regulate its internal economy. A prominent 
out-of-town member of this period was Smith M. Weed, of 
Plattsburg. He long stood at the head of up-State Demo- 
cratic politics, narrowly missing the United States senator- 
ship on three occasions, and always exercising commanding 
influence. He is still hale and hearty at the ripe old age of 

Such was the atmosphere of the Manhattan Club in its old 
Benkard house days, and such the stalwart and striking fig- 
ures of early post-bellum Democracy. What these men did 
for the Club we shall hear in the coming chapters. 



The Old Club— Public Dinners and Receptions— Out-of-town Mem- 
bers provided for— Mortality among the Club Officials— The Club 
denounces the Use of Troops in Louisiana. 

HE official history of the Manhattan Club 
divides itself naturally into two sections, 
the first section covering the period of the 
Club's life between the years 1865 and 1877, 
before it became a corporation; the second 
section embracing the years from 1877 to 
191 5, the semi-centennial year of the Club's 
existence; both of these sections were filled with striking 
personalities and events. 

By the Act of Incorporation, sworn to before B. J. Douras, 
N.P., on February 15, 1877, and signed by John Bigelow, 
Secretary of State, at Albany, February 20, 1877, the Man- 
hattan Club, as it existed, and the incorporated Manhattan 
Club, became separate bodies, distinguished in all records 
thereafter as the "Old Club" and the "New Club." 

During the whole of its life the "Old Club" made its home 
in the Benkard house. 

The early months of the Old Club's life following those 



already recorded were without incident other than the loss 
sustained by the death of ex-Governor Washington Hunt, 
one of its most valued members, in 1867. 

Governor Hunt is described in the Club annals as "a Chris- 
tian gentleman." He was a man whose distinguished and 
successful career in State and National legislatures and as 
Governor of New York had established the character of 
ability, stability, and shining integrity. His death at that 
trying period of American history came as a national as well 
as a State and Club loss, for as a statesman no less than a 
clubman he had hosts of friends, won and held by hig genial 
temper and unaffected ways. 

The matters which now began to engage the attention and 
interest of the Old Club were, first, its hope of becoming an 
efficient aid to the Democratic Party; second, its desire to 
see itself incorporated; third, its troubled financial affairs; 
and fourth, the growing restlessness of its younger members 
as to its removal to an up-town club-house. 

The first of these aims led to the appointment, March i, 
1868, by the President, of a committee of three, with him- 
self as chairman, having power to extend the hospitalities of 
the Club to the National Democratic Committee, members 
of the National Democratic Convention, about to assemble, 
and to other distinguished Democrats who might be present 
in New York City on the 4th of July of that year. 

On November 23, 1870, this work was continued by a for- 
mal request made to Mr. George Ticknor Curtis that he 
mature and submit a plan he had suggested for increasing 
the political efficiency of the Club. This plan, which em- 
braced, among other functions, public dinners and recep- 
tions to leading Democrats, began to bear fruit. On the 7th 
of November, 1873, we find the Club holding a general meet- 
ing to arrange for an entertainment, to be given a week later, 
in honor of Governor Kemper of Virginia and of Governor 
Allen and Senator Thurman of Ohio; and on May 7, 1874, 


pc-'fitxeai efficiency of 


leriiprr ana . 

August Belmont 

W \d, Its 

md the Chib ' 

mxm^i;:^ ii.u:iiiaii  . ana on ma; 


Democrats from all over the country were invited to a grand 

This reunion, we learn from the newspapers of those 
days, was the most famous yet given by the Manhattan 
Club. In one account we read how, though "eminently 
Democratic" as the Club was, the throng on that notable 
evening was by no means democratic in appearance, if that 
meant "the great unwashed," but was composed of "gentle- 
men in full evening costume, including the par excellence 
swallowtail coat, white choker, and light kid gloves." 

The imposing rooms were, it is recorded, most splendidly 
decorated, the national colors festooning the columns of the 
reception-rooms, draping the walls and outlining the doors, 
gorgeous candelabra flashing down their lustre from every 

One reporter waxed critical concerning the curtains, 
which, he informs us, were of gauze spangled in every hue,— 
a trifle theatrical, he thought, and "in the 'Black Crook* 
style," then the vogue. While he was not fond of so much 
red in the club-house furnishings, he reluctantly admitted 
that it had a most brilliant effect. 

Leading Democrats from all over the Union are described 
as strolling up the winding stairway, arm in arm, in those 
same swallowtails, chokers, and light kids, pausing to in- 
spect the portraits of John Van Buren and Chancellor Rob- 
erts, — evidently hung upon the wall of the stairway, — 
making their way by the band playing democratic airs in the 
upper hall to the adjacent parlor, where, at nine, began the 

Mr. Augustus Schell, then President of the Club, took his 
place as master of ceremonies on a carpeted dais at the end 
of the room, near a table decorated with one of the huge, stiff 
bouquets of that period, to welcome the visitors. Reading 
the report of his speech to-day, it is easy to supply the date 
of the fulfilment of his prophecy that events were moving 



rapidly and logically towards the rise of Democracy again 
to power. 

Speeches through which sound the echoes of the guns of 
the Civil War, replete with political references which fall 
dead to-day, then followed, — Amasa J. Parker, Senator 
Bayard, Judge John McHenry, Mr. Fitch of Nevada, Mr. 
Smith of Vermont, the orators, — and two hundred letters, 
full of the rising leaven of Democracy, were read from lead- 
ing Democrats of every State, unable for various reasons to 
be present. References to affairs in Louisiana made the roof 
of "No. 96" echo with Democratic cheering. 

After the supper — pronounced "very fine" — certain gen- 
tlemen, catching sight of S. S. ("Sunset") Cox, fell upon him 
with cries of "Speech! Speech!" but to no avail. 

Chief in that throng of Democrats of '74 moved Samuel J. 
Tilden, the man in whom many New York Democrats saw 
the coming triumph of Democracy. Near by was the de- 
lightful John Hunter, and not far away the equally charming 
William C. Wickham; while mingling in the throng were 
General Elijah Ward, Congressman Robert B. Roosevelt, 
ex-Senator Ben Stark, Smith M. Weed, General Duryea, 
Judge J. J. Freedman, Judge Kilbreth, and John T. Hoffman. 

Some eight days later, probably as an outcome of the 
reunion, a committee was appointed to draft a circular to be 
sent to prominent Democrats throughout the United States, 
inviting them to become out-of-town members of the Man- 
hattan Club. 

The next considerable political reception was given, De- 
cember 29, 1874, to Tilden and Wickham, at that time the 
hope of the Democratic Party, and respectively Governor 
and Mayor-elect of New York. The affair was much talked 
of, and on the night in question gas-jets blazed out the 
monograms of the guests to the public. 

Mr. Augustus Schell having resigned as president, it was 
Mr. August Belmont who presided over this reception, pro- 



nounced by the morning papers of that day the greatest 
gathering of Democrats ever brought together. 

This time we hear less about the decorations, — one re- 
porter, a Republican, grumbling because the speeches were 
delivered up-stairs, where he suffered from lack of both room 
and air, and not down-stairs, the great applause attending 
the entrance of Mr. Tilden on the arm of Mr. Augustus 
Schell "quite deafening him." 

The "dinner," as he calls it, however, not only excited his 
enthusiasm but that of his fellow-reporters, who tell us that 
it was "sumptuous," "very fine," and "under the superin- 
tendence of one Felix Deliee." Douglas Taylor preserved 
the menu, which carried more than a dozen courses ! 

The speeches were full of raillery, Mr. Belmont assuring 
Messrs. Tilden and Wickham that the secret of their success 
lay entirely in their being members of the Manhattan Club, 
and telling the gathered throng that, as president of that 
Club, he resented its being dubbed the "silk-stocking end of 
the party." 

Mr. Tilden, Mr. Wickham, Judge Bedell of New Jersey, 
Governor IngersoU of Connecticut, Hon. Charles Faulkner 
of Virginia, Hon. Randall Gibson of Louisiana, ex-Governor 
John T. Hoffman, Governor Parker of New Jersey, Hon. 
John K. Tarbox of Massachusetts, all made speeches, while 
letters were read from George Ticknor Curtis, Horatio Sey- 
mour, Clarkson M. Potter, Edward Atkinson, Hon. W. P. 
Banks, Reverdy Johnson, Hon. Fernando Wood, Governor 
William Allen, and Thomas A. Hendricks. 

In the assembly were Judge Sutherland, Hon. Abram S. 
Hewitt, Chief Justice Charles P. Daly, Judge Abbott, Con- 
gressman Roosevelt, Hon. Philip Cook of Georgia, and G. M. 
Dallas of Texas. 

It seemed the fate of the Club, in those early years, to lose 
many officers by death. In July, 1868, occurred that of Judge 
Anthony Lispenard Robertson, its vice-president. Mr. 



George Ticknor Curtis, in moving a resolution of regret at 
the loss of this "upright magistrate, useful citizen, erudite 
scholar, and genial friend," pronounced the following ora- 

"Mr. President: I desire to put on record here a few words 
concerning the dear friend whom we have lost. In the pro- 
ceedings of the Bar which will doubtless follow this bereave- 
ment, there will be many to speak of him who have known 
him longer than I have. It has happened to me, sir, a little 
out of the ordinary experience, in consequence of a change 
of residence occurring after the middle period of life, to have 
passed from one circle of friends of marked peculiarities to 
another of not less decided but quite different characteristics. 
He who transfers himself from one community to another 
differing so essentially as this city does from that in which I 
formerly lived, finds his life and almost his consciousness 
divided into distinct portions, to one of which belongs 
vividly the old, and to the other the new. Yet it would be 
impossible for me to tell, although it is not more than six 
years ago, where I first met the late Chief Justice Robertson, 
or to whom I owe the honor of an introduction to him. It 
seems to me as if I had known him all my life, and as if I 
were as much entitled to speak of him as those who were 
born and reared with him in the same society. He was a 
man of such strong elements of character, he so quickly com- 
manded your sympathies and won your respect, that you lost 
the recollection of the time when your knowledge of him 
began. Then, too, it must be remembered that Judge Rob- 
ertson thought of the republic as we did, and ever since there 
has been such a thing as free political action, in ancient or in 
modern society, to think alike concerning the republic has 
been one of the strongest bonds that can exist among men. 
Mr. President, Judge Robertson has solved some problems 
which I had been taught all my life to regard as incapable of 
satisfactory solution. In the first place, he has shown that it 



is possible for an elective judicial system to produce and to 
keep an upright, independent, and fearless judge, seen and 
known of all men to be upright, independent, and fearless. I 
believe it to be true of this good man that no one has ever 
stood before him with a feeling of fear in his heart that, let 
the merits of his case be what they might, there was an influ- 
ence, unseen and intangible, which had already decided or 
was to decide it, in spite of all that argument and reason and 
truth could do. No advocate has been sent before him, se- 
lected because of a supposed personal influence. No com- 
bination of political, social, or pecuniary interests has ever 
had the power to approach him. Although living in the 
freest intercourse with a wide circle of friends, many of 
whom were concerned in the litigations before him, he never 
conversed upon the causes upon which he was to act. Per- 
haps this may be no great praise. Perhaps there may be a 
state of society in which it would be the highest praise. In 
the next place. Judge Robertson has shown that it is pos- 
sible for a judge to be every inch a judge, and at the same 
time to maintain an active connection with a great political 
party. It is certain that in his judicial capacity he com- 
manded the confidence of all parties, and yet he was an 
earnest and decided man in his political opinions, and loyal 
in every way to the party with which he was connected. He 
has gone from us very suddenly. How long his memory will 
be kept green in the general minds we cannot know; but 
there are those to whom it will remain while anything re- 
mains to them of what they have known and loved in this 
transitory world. As they part from him, in the firm but 
tender parting that his manly heart would have chosen, one 
can imagine that they say to him: 
" 'We have been long together, 

Through pleasant and through cloudy weather; 

'T is hard to part when friends are deeur ; 

Perhaps 't will cost a sigh, a tear; 



Then steal away, give little warning. 
Choose thine own time ; 

Say not good night, but in some brighter clime 
Bid us good morning.' " 

On February 5, 1869, Mr. Samuel L. M. Barlow was 
elected to fill Judge Robertson's place. 

After serving seven years as president of the Club and five 
as vice-president, the Hon. Augustus Schell, October 8, 
1874, declining re-election for reasons which the Club ac- 
cepted as final, a vote of thanks to him was passed in grati- 
tude for "all the efforts he had made to further the welfare 
of the Manhattan Club," the members feeling that they could 
not permit him to retire without the "cordial expression of 
their respect and regard." 

The Hon. Augustus Schell, its second president, was a 
member of the Manhattan Club for twenty years from its 
inception to his death in 1884. He was a man of singular 
tenacity in his attachments, conspicuous alike for the liber- 
ality of his disposition, the independence of his character, 
and the obduracy of his convictions. 

His portrait, presented April 14, 1887, by his son Edward 
Schell, and that of Judge Robertson, paid for from funds 
raised by subscription, became Club property and were hung 
on its walls. Judge Aaron Vanderpoel, at the time of the 
presentation of the portrait of Mr. Schell, proposed to write 
a sketch of the former President's life for the Club ; but, his 
own death occurring a few months later, this unfortunately 
was never completed. On November 15, 1872, the House 
Committee was instructed to connect the club-house with 
the American District Telegraph Company. It was not, 
however, until November 4, 1878, that election returns over 
private wire were arranged. Since then "Election Nights" 
have been great affairs. 

On February 4, 1875, Mr. Augustus W. Clason made the 



gift of the fine portrait of General Jackson which is one of 
the most valued possessions of the Club. 

The year 1876 drew from the Manhattan Club a vigorous 
protest against President Grant's use of troops in the South. 
The resolution, appointing Messrs. Sidney Webster, Manton 
Marble, Manuel B. Hart, and August Belmont a committee 
"to prepare and publish appropriate resolutions denouncing 
the recent use in New Orleans by the President of the United 
States of the army of the United States to influence the 
organization and control the deliberations of the elected 
Legislature of the State of Louisiana, without due applica- 
tion therefor by the Executive or the Legislature of such 
State, there being neither foreign invasion nor domestic in- 
surrection therein," brings the purely political acts of the 
Old Club to their close. 




The New Club — Its Articles of Incorporation — Arrangements for the 
Renewal of the Leasehold— The Formal Acts of Transfer 

ROM its foundation the matter of its incor- 
poration engaged the Club's energies and 
occupied its discussions. 

On July 3, 1868, a committee consisting 
of Judge Robertson and Mr. Andrew H. 
Green was appointed "to consider the pro- 
priety of obtaining an act of incorporation 
for this Club, and to prepare and report a bill therefor," and 
also to report what measures were to be taken to preserve 
"the title of the Club to the property." 

As a result of this committee's report, October 2, Judge 
Hilton and Mr. William Butler Duncan were requested to 
convey the title of the property to Mr. Augustus Schell and 
Judge Robertson, respectively president and vice-president 
of the Club. 

While the matter seems to have been always more or less 
under discussion, definite steps towards actual incorporation 
were only taken, December 20, 1876, following a resolution 
of February 4, 1875, to incorporate the Club. 

On the former date a committee of fifteen was appointed, 
as a result of the financial condition of the Club, to devise 


The New CI«b— It 

Renewal of t\m Le&s- 


Aaron J. Vanderpoel 


a r: 

T ;'* 



means to relieve it in that direction and to formulate a plan 
for incorporation. 

On December 26 this committee, in its report, proposed 
that since, in the judgment of the committee, it was expe- 
dient that the Club be incorporated, it be affiliated under the 
general act entitled "An Act for the Incorporation of So- 
cieties or Clubs for Certain Lawful Purposes," passed May 
12, 1875, and the amendatory act, passed March 14, 1876. 

It further reported and proposed that a committee of three 
be appointed "to enquire and report to the association into 
the propriety and expediency of the reorganization of the 
Club under an act of incorporation, and to ascertain on what 
terms and conditions the reorganization of the Club can be 
effected under the act incorporating the 'Hermitage Na- 
tional Association.' " Steps already had been taken, July i, 
1876, towards the purchase of this Hermitage Charter from 
Mr. Smith Ely, who, with Messrs. Agnew and Ashley, was 
appointed on the committee of three recommended. On 
December 28 Mr. Agnew reported that the Hermitage Char- 
ter could be purchased for five hundred dollars. 

On January 16, in connection with a report of the commit- 
tee of fifteen, Mr. Cooper, seconded by Mr. Wilson, proposed 
the renewal of the lease of the four lots occupied by the club- 
house at a ground rent of four thousand dollars per year, 
under the general act already referred to, passed May 12, 

1875, and the act amendatory thereof, passed March 14, 

1876. Mr. Cooper further proposed that all the members of 
the Club as it stood should become members of the New 
Club without being elected or paying an initiation fee, at any 
time before the first of the following May, provided such 
member be free from debt to the Old Club. Should he have 
failed to pay the assessment, imposed on the Club by the 
Managing Committee, on or before the first of the coming 
April, he should have ceased to be a member of the New 
Club, being required to sign a stipulation to that effect. 



On January 29, 1877, following Mr. Cooper's resolution 
touching the new organization, Mr. Coudert proposed the 
appointment of a committee of five to report the names of 
twelve persons to be inserted in the Certificate of Incorpo- 
ration as managers of the New Club for the first year. This 
committee, as appointed, was composed of Messrs. F. R. 
Coudert, William E. Curtis, E. L. Gaul, Simon Sterne, and 
H. L. Clinton. For the twelve managers these chose August 
Belmont, Augustus Schell, Edward Cooper, A. J. Vander- 
poel, W. E. Rider, Sidney Webster, Oswald Ottendorfer, 
Clarkson N. Potter, Peter B. Olney, William C. Whitney, 
Edward Patterson, and Smith Ely, all of whose names ap- 
pear in the Certificate of Incorporation as the Board of Man- 
agers of the New Club for the first year. 

The incorporators of the New Club were J. Augustus 
Page, George H. Purser, Edward Schell, August Belmont, 
Charles D. Burrill, Everett P. Wheeler, Richard Lathers, 
Mortimer Porter, Wilson G. Hunt, Augustus Schell, F. H. 
Bangs, B. Casserly, Edward Cooper, Aaron J. Vanderpoel, 
Edward Patterson, John R. Brady, Peter B. Olney, William 
E. Rider, Cyrus Yale, John T. Agnew, Thomas R. Fisher, 
Henry Wilder Allen, and Benjamin Hart. 

The Certificate of Incorporation being sworn to on Feb- 
ruary 15, 1877, and signed by Secretary of State Bigelow on 
February 20, Messrs. Vanderpoel, Schell, and Cooper were 
instructed to prepare the new Constitution and By-Laws. 

On March 14, 1877, these were read and adopted, condi- 
tionally to adoption by the Corporation, which on March 19 
approved and ratified them. Accordingly, on March 20, the 
rules of the Old Club were adopted as the rules of the New 
Club where there was no confliction between the two consti- 
tutions, and notices were ordered to be sent out to old mem- 
bers offering membership. 

According to the new Constitution, the object of the Man- 
hattan Club was "to advance Democratic principles, to pro- 



mote social intercourse among its members, and to provide 
them with the conveniences of a club-house." 

The officers elected for the New Club were August Bel- 
mont, president; A. J. Vanderpoel, vice-president; Peter B. 
Olney, treasurer; William E. Rider, secretary; and for the 
House Committee, Augustus Schell, A. J. Vanderpoel, and 
William E. Rider. 

In regard to the members of the Old Club it was finally 
arranged that, if not in arrears to the Club, they could be- 
come members of the New Club by enrolling before June i. 
They were then to be exempt from entrance fee and the 
annual half-yearly dues to March i, 1877. 

After June i the entrance fee could be remitted by the 
Board of Managers for those enrolling before September i, 
and half of it for any who had resigned from the Old Club 
between January i, 1875, and March i, 1877, and wished to 
re-enter the New Club. 


Club Ups and Downs — Its Long and Arduous Financial Struggle- 
Grievous Loss by Robbery — Final Adjustment of its Money Affairs 

HE financial affairs of the Club from the 
first had given concern to the more careful 
members of the various committees having 
them in charge. The treasurer's report at 
the end of the fourth year of the Club's 
existence, proving how conscientious they 
were, was as follows : 


From October i, 1865, to October i, 1866. 
" I, 1866, " " I, 1867. 
" I, 1867, " " 1, 1868. 
" I, 1868, " " I, 1869. 


From October i, 1865, to October i, 1866. 
" I, 1866, " " I, 1867. 

" I, 1867, " " I, 1868. 

" I, 1868, " " I, 1869. 










Cash balance, October i, 1869. 


Affairs, unfortunately, did not continue on this happy 



basis, and from 1869 to the date of the reorganization a con- 
stant financial struggle seems to have been the rule. 

As early as December, 1869, we find the treasurer being 
instructed to prepare a plan for payment of the $50,000 pur- 
chase money, then due upon the club-house. Four days later 
it was voted that a mortgage of $50,000 be executed to secure 
payment of bonds to be issued to that amount. At the same 
time the resolution of October 8, 1868, which conveyed the 
title of the property to Mr. Schell and the late Judge Rob- 
ertson, as president and vice-president of the Club, was 
rescinded. The committee which had been appointed, June 
9, made its report, and was instructed to obtain subscriptions 
to the amount of the mortgage and to issue fifty seven per 
cent, interest bearing bonds therefor. 

On March 6, 1873, a special committee, consisting of 
Messrs. Webster, Marble, Tilden, Cranston, and Miller, with 
President Schell as chairman, was appointed to look into the 
financial affairs of the Club and report, which it did on 
March 21, 1873. 

The committee, it seems, found the Club's affairs in the 
greatest disorder. One Jones, the steward, when con- 
fronted, confessed that, with the connivance and co-opera- 
tion of certain other Club employees, he had systematically 
plundered tills, larders, and wine-cellcir to the extent of 

The House Committee at once resigned, and on May 2, 
1873, the members were assessed fifty dollars each to pay 
such Club indebtedness as was not covered by the mortgage, 
the treasurer being instructed to send out a report of the 
Club's financial state and its numerical strength to its mem- 

On June 6 the motion to assess the members was re- 
scinded, and it was resolved that Judge Henry Hilton and 
Mr. William Butler Duncan, the assignees of the lease of the 
property on Fifth Avenue and Fifteenth Street, then occu- 



pied by the Club, be requested to execute a mortgage for 
$77,000 to the Union Trust Company of New York as trus- 
tee, payable twenty years after date, to secure one hundred 
and ten bonds of $700 each, dated October i, 1872, with in- 
terest thereon at the rate of seven per cent, per annum, pay- 
able annually. 

The proceeds of $50,000 of the bonds secured by the mort- 
gage were to be set apart and applied to the payment of the 
mortgage for $50,000, then outstanding on the property. 
The remaining $27,000 was to be applied, under the direction 
of the treasurer, to paying the indebtedness of the Club. 

The initiation fees of all members to be elected in future 
were to form a sinking fund for the redemption of these 
bonds, and, the mortgage executed and recorded. Judge Hil- 
ton and Mr. Duncan were to execute a Declaration of 
Trust to be revised by Messrs. Roosevelt, Williamson, and 
Hackett, who were also to examine the lease under which 
the Club then held the property and to report to the Manag- 
ing Committee what action was necessary to protect its in- 
terests. The completion of this business was placed in the 
hands of Mr. Duncan. 

On December 1 1 a general meeting of the Club was held 
to discuss financial matters, with the result that further 
efforts were made to liquidate the debt by sale of bonds 
through Belmont & Co., with the result that on April 2, 1874, 
the Club indebtedness was reported at $21,000. 

On July 4, the Managing Committee, by lot, classified 
themselves to cease as members on certain dates as follows : 

August Belmont, John T. Agnew, Horatio Seymour, 
George Garr, and Henry Wilder Allen to cease to be mem- 
bers of the Managing Committee, October, 1874. 

S. L. M. Barlow, Manton Marble, Sidney Webster, 
Thomas R. Fisher, and William Butler Duncan to cease to 
be members of the Managing Committee, October, 1875. 

Augustus Schell, Charles O'Conor, William H. Hurlbert, 



Cyrus Yale, and Bernard Casserly to cease to be members 
of the Managing Committee, October, 1876. 

John R. Brady, E. B. Hart, John C. Maximos, William C. 
Wickham, and Robert B. Roosevelt to cease to be members 
of the Managing Committee, October, 1877. 

Smith Ely, Douglas Taylor, Samuel J. Tilden, J. L. 
Macaulay, and W. E. Rider to cease to be members of the 
Managing Committee, October, 1878. 

The mortgage does not appesir to have put the Club on its 
feet financially, since on January 6, 1876, the dues were 
raised to seventy-five dollars. On December 17, 1875, 
Messrs. Hilton and Duncan were requested to assign the 
lease, held by them since 1873, to President August Belmont, 
John T. Agnew, and Sidney Webster. 

On March 2, 1876, Messrs. John T. Agnew and A. W. 
Clason, a committee appointed to look into the accounts, re- 
ported that prior to February i, 1874, they had been kept 
very loosely; and on April i it was deemed advisable to fore- 
close the mortgage. On December 20, at the members' 
meeting, it was, as before stated, voted wise to appoint a 
committee of fifteen to devise means of relieving the Club of 
foreclosure and indebtedness and to make plans for its in- 

Mr. Purser, in connection with this committee, reported 
that, besides unpaid dues for the past years, the sum of 
$8025 was owed by one hundred and seventeen members for 
the annual dues payable from October i, 1876, and about 
$3300 to the restaurant for supplies actually furnished. To 
meet Club obligations it was necessary that the claims be 
settled at once, and he accordingly requested the manage- 
ment to notify all in arrears that if the dues were not paid on 
or before February 10, the names of such members should be 
dropped from the roll and legal proceedings begun. This 
was put to a vote and approved by the Club. 

This committee, or rather a sub-section of it appointed 



later, did not make its final report along the line of the Club 
finances until 1880, after the Old Club had ceased to exist. 
It then reported that, having failed to collect enough from 
the delinquent members* dues to pay these Old Club debts, it 
had solicited voluntary subscriptions. Five thousand seven 
hundred and fifty dollars had been raised by gifts from 
Augustus Schell, Oswald Ottendorfer, Samuel J. Tilden, 
Aaron J. Vanderpoel, Edward Cooper, August Belmont, Sid- 
ney Webster, John T. Agnew, Cyrus Yale, Smith Ely, Jr., 
John G. Davis, William C. Whitney, William E. Curtis, 
Abram S. Hewitt, George H. Purser, Thomas Holland, Elijah 
Ward, Robert B. Roosevelt, and John McKeon. Three thou- 
sand one hundred and seventy-five dollars had been sub- 
scribed by the firms of Park & Tilford, Cazade, Crooks & 
Raymond, Purdy & Nicholas, Jantzen Brothers, Skidmore & 
Sons, Acker, Merrall & Condit, A. & E. Robbins, and Drohn 
& Co. Vouchers were also given by the firms of Park & 
Tilford, Acker, Merrall & Condit, Cazade, Crooks & Ray- 
mond, A. & E. Robbins, Jantzen Brothers, Drohn & Co., 
Purdy & Nicholas, and Skidmore & Sons. 

These two amounts, with the balance in the bank of $2.98, 
brought the sum to $8927.98, and with it all debts were set- 
tled, with the exception of the taxes for 1876. These, on the 
discovery that they had not been paid, were, with their in- 
terest, paid on March 16, 1883, the amount being $4155. 

This report was presented by Messrs. Schell and Yale, 
who, it will be recalled, were appointed on March 7, 1877, 
with power to collect the Club debts, and who reported that 
they had collected only enough to reduce these debts to 
$17,000, and that the New Club, being in a conditional state, 
could not pay them. 

In the meantime, to return to the year 1877, the committee 
of fifteen made its preliminary report at the January meet- 
ing, when it asked that a committee of three be appointed to 
look into the matter of Club liabilities and assets. 



John O. Davis, W 

Abram S. Hewitt, G 

Ward, Robert B. R(x>^. 

sand one hundred and 

scribed by the firms of Park & ' 


e Frederic R. Coudert 


eyear 1877, the c 
report at the Jr 


Accordingly, Messrs. Rider, Holland, and Porter were 
named for that committee, Messrs. Vanderpoel, Webster, 
and Davis forming a second committee to ascertain and re- 
port the terms and conditions upon which the debts owed by 
the Club could be adjusted and settled. 

On March 7, 1877, a committee consisting of Messrs. Yale, 
Fisher, and Taylor was appointed to meet a committee of the 
New Club and arrange for a sale of the furniture, fixtures, 
and stock of the Old Club, with power to conclude the sale 
and deliver the furniture. 

This committee made a contract with the committee of 
the New Club, by which it agreed to sell all furniture and 
fixtures for such sum of money as might be required to pay 
off the deficiency of debts (not including mortgage bonds) 
over the assets of the former organization, the sum not to 
exceed $8000, payment to be made when the financial condi- 
tion of the New Club should justify it. 

The supplies of the Old Club were also to be sold at cost 
price to the New Club, from surplus funds from Club sales at 
the end of each month, until the whole amount was paid, the 
manager of the New Club to be responsible in no way per- 
sonally for any debt incurred in the sale of furniture or 
supplies. With Mr. Rider added, the committee was author- 
ized to collect all debts. This authority was transferred, 
however, to Messrs. Schell and Yale, with the result already 

On March 17, 1877, the New Club ratified its Constitution, 
and the further financial transactions of the Club belong to 
its history. 


Early Years of the New Club— Many Constitutional Changes and a 
Few Receptions— The Election of Grover Cleveland to the Presi- 
dency—Deaths of Vice-President Hendricks, General Hancock, and 
Governor Seymour. 

HE New Club continued its life in the Ben- 
kard house until 1890. Its existence during 
those years seems to have been troubled 
constantly by the entanglement of its 
finances. In trend it became more and more 
Democratic, and its membership steadily 
increased. The Club, as we know, ratified 
its constitution on March 19, 1877. About this time the Club 
seal, bearing the legend, "Manhattan Club, 1877," was 

In response to a circular setting forth the principles of 
the Club, which was sent out on the second of April to resi- 
dent and non-resident members, one hundred and sixty- 
three members of the Old Club identified themselves with 
the New. 

According to Article II, Section 5, of the new Constitu- 
tion, any member might become a life member upon pay- 
ment of $700 and surrender of a mortgage bond of the Club 
for $500, or on the transfer to the New Club of one of the 



thirty-one bonds of the Old Club, each for $700, life members 
to be exempt forever from dues. 

The first to become life members by surrendering Club 
bonds of $700 were Douglas Taylor, Thomas R. Fisher, and 
Manton Marble. Of the one hundred and ten bonds of the 
Old Club, seventy were found cancelled. No. 2, purchased 
at the Dimcan sale for $35, was presented to the Club by 
Mr. McFarland, and on May 2, 1878, the Club received the 
following letter through Mr. Olney: 

New York, April 29, 1878. 
My dear Sir: 

As I prefer to remain on the same basis as to annual dues 
as other members who do not commute, will you please pre- 
sent to the Club, Bond No. 16, being the only one of those I 
took which now remains in my hands. 
Wishing every success to the Club, 

I remain, 


S. J. Tilden. 

As an expression of the Club's appreciation of Mr. Tilden's 
liberality, Mr. Schell moved that his letter be entered upon 
the minutes and that "the thanks of the Board be returned 
him for his generous gift." 

On June 14, 1877, the House Committee was instructed to 
send out a circular letter setting forth the fact that Club 
members were not to be held responsible for Club debts, and 
emphasizing the great benefit the Manhattan Club might be 
to the Democratic Party if it could be put upon a firm finan- 
cial foundation. That this circular letter does not seem to 
have been productive of any great increase of membership 
would seem to be indicated by the fact that on January 5, 
1878, a committee was appointed to devise ways and means 
of increasing the Club membership. At the meeting of this 
committee on January 12, Mr. August Belmont, president of 



the New Club, suggested that the Club should be made more 
distinctly Democratic in its tone, its receptions to reflect the 

On March 21, 1878, the Club amended its Constitution to 
permit ordinary members to become non-resident members 
by a vote of the managers, if they were non-resident consti- 
tutionally and not in debt to the Club; also to regulate the 
date for the eventual surrender of bonds, or fraction thereof, 
in lieu of dues, and to permit the admission, if before June i, 
of not less than forty members of the Young Men's Demo- 
cratic Club on such terms as to fees as the managers might 
deem expedient. 

On May 2, 1878, forty-five members of the Young Men's 
Democratic Club took advantage of this and joined the 
Manhattan. The New Club at this time suffered a great loss 
in the resignation of Mr. August Belmont as president. The 
third of its presidents and one of the oldest of its members, 
he was also one of the leading citizens of New York City and 
State. A faithful Democrat, he rendered many and valuable 
services to his party. We find the Club records dwelling 
upon the fact that though he was "earnest in the expression 
of his views and eloquent in their advocacy," he never "went 
beyond the limits of good sense, good breeding, and entire 
fairness in the effort to make his political views prevail." His 
services to his country when consulted upon financial mat- 
ters, we are further told, were invaluable and "of material 
assistance in overcoming doctrines the triumph of which 
would have proved disastrous to the best interests of the 

Moreover, he was a broad-minded citizen, a generous 
patron of art, a lover of New York, and a friend to all he 
deemed for its best interests, — in short, "a man entitled to 
the respect and gratitude of the Manhattan Club," a fact the 
Club emphasized on the occasion of his death on November 
25, 1890. 



Two years and a half later, on June 22, 1893, Mr. Bel- 
mont's three sons, Perry, August, and Oliver H. P. Belmont, 
presented to the Club the fine portrait of their father which 
forms one of its most valued possessions. The Club ordered 
that the preamble and resolutions drawn up by the Board of 
Managers in accepting the gift, "as a memorial of one of its 
Presidents and most distinguished founders," should be en- 
grossed and sent to the givers as an expression in permanent 
form of its appreciation of the sentiment that dictated the 
gift of a valuable work of art which "recalls in a singularly 
lifelike manner one who was long a leader in the party which 
it is the design of the Manhattan Club to support and en- 
courage." In the resolution which follows the Club declared 
its own faithfulness to those principles of popular govern- 
ment of which Mr. Belmont was one of the most earnest, 
consistent, and conspicuous advocates, and it deemed it emi- 
nently appropriate, therefore, that his memory should be 
kept alive in the Club by the memento upon its walls. It 
ordered that the preamble and resolutions be spread in full 
upon the records of the Board of Managers, as an "enduring 
evidence of the generosity of the givers of the fine portrait, 
as a testimonial of the spirit in which it is accepted, and as a 
mark of the affectionate regard in which Mr. Belmont was 
held in the Club." 

Judge Aaron J. Vanderpoel was elected in Mr. Belmont's 
place, and held office until February 11, 1886, when he re- 
signed, Mr. Manton Marble being elected his successor. The 
Club, in accepting Judge Vanderpoel's resignation, placed 
on record a resolution declaring that his presidency had been 
of the greatest value, and that during his term of office many 
strides were made from adversity to prosperity, he having 
come into office at a critical moment in the history of "the 
most important non-factional Democratic organization in 
the country," and at his retirement leaving the Club in the 
first rank as the outcome of his courage and ability. Judge 



Vanderpoel lived only a short time after his retirement, his 
death occurring on October 13, 1887. 

On the seventh of May of the following year a group of 
Club members presented a portrait of Judge Vanderpoel to 
the Club, as a memorial, they said, of their friend who had 
rendered such valuable services as president, and also in 
remembrance of his high attainments as a member of the 
legal profession, in which he was one of the most prominent 

During the presidencies of Mr. Belmont and Judge Van- 
derpoel the Club had been energetic in its work for Democ- 
racy. On January 25, 1878, it invited Professor Sumner, of 
Yale, and the Hon. David A. Wells to address its members 
upon "The Silver Question." 

On January 2, 1878, the Club honored General Winfield 
Scott Hancock with a dinner, an outcome of the latter 
being the presentation of a bust of General Hancock, with 
pedestal, to the Club by Mr. John T. Agnew. On May 23, 
1878, it entertained with a reception in honor of Governor 

On December 8, 1878, a reception was given for Hon. John 
McKeon, and on the fourteenth of the following January 
another for the Governor and ex-Governor, and in February 
yet another for the judges of the Supreme Court. In 1885 a 
reception was given in honor of Grover Cleveland, whose 
election to the Presidency the Club celebrated, expressing 
its joy at the return of its party to power after twenty-five 
years. During the preceding campaign it had extended its 
privileges to the members of the National and State Com- 
mittees. On November 12, 1885, it gave a reception for 
Governor Hill. 

Another event of this period was the sudden death of Mr. 
Cadwallader Evans, one of the Club managers and its secre- 
tary. He was still a young man whose career in business 
had been most promising. His interest in the Club was 


r Quei 

Charles H. Truax 

StJl* V-\~14U^ \Jl 


never-failing, and his faithful performance of his official duty 
made him an invaluable member. His loss was mourned 
sincerely, the Club expressing its satisfaction at the energy 
and ability shown in his life, and its gratitude for the zeal, 
intelligence, and industry displayed by him as its officer. 

On March 20, 1879, the Club amended its Constitution to 
excuse from payment of dues any member who might be 
absent from the United States for a year or more. The year 
1 88 1 witnessed the assassination of President Garfield. On 
the occasion of his death, on September 23, the Club passed 
the following resolution of sympathy, prepared by Messrs. 
Hewitt and Coudert : 

'^Resolved, That the Governors of the Manhattan Club 
share in the imiversal sorrow which pervades the country 
at the untimely death of President Garfield, and they tender 
to his bereaved family the expression of their profound sym- 
pathy for the irreparable loss which they have sustained." 

Upon the death of Vice-President Hendricks, January 14, 
1886, the Club unanimously passed the following resolu- 
tion of regret at the loss of its party's first Vice-President 
since the War : 

"Be it therefore resolved, That the Manhattan Club, 
through its managers, desires to record and make public its 
respect for the deceased Vice-President, to express its grati- 
tude for his honorable service to the nation, and its recogni- 
tion of the firmness with which he has sought to preserve 
intact the inheritance which we have received from the 
founders of our political existence. That the nation has lost 
in him not only a citizen conspicuous for abilities long and 
usefully exercised, but a servant whose integrity was never 
questioned, whose patriotism was above reproach, and whose 
private life was a living example to the younger generation. 
He has proved that success in political life does not depend 



upon artful efforts to win public confidence by unworthy 
methods, but rather that the surest way to win the confidence 
of the American people is to deserve it." 

In January of the following year Mr. John T. Agnew pre- 
sented a portrait of Vice-President Hendricks to the Club. 

Other deaths of leading Democrats during this period 
were those of General Hancock, February ii, 1886, and 
Horatio Seymour, February 13, 1886. 


Last Years in the Benkard House — Removal to the Stewart House, 
called the "Whited Sepulchre" — Memorials of Mr. Cleveland — 
Death of Mr. Tilden. 

NDER date of June 3, 1869, we find the 
first mention in Club annals of a desire for 
the purchase of a site for a club-house. 
Messrs. Marble, Green, Munson, and Schell 
were appointed a committee to consider the 
matter and hunt for an available location, 
but nothing definite seems to have been 
done, perhaps because of the increasing entanglement of the 
Club's finances. 

By January 19, 1883, these must have considerably 
mended, since it is then that we find the Club accepting plans 
for extending the Benkard house by the enlargement of the 
balcony into a summer dining-room, about which we heard 
from Mr. Lyons in a previous chapter. 

Five years later, December 8, 1887, a request was signed 
by thirty of the Club members calling for a special meeting 
to consider the acquiring of a club-house farther up-town. 
This meeting took place on January 19, 1888, and resulted in 
the formation of a committee of five whose duty it was to 
look into the financial condition of the Club, and report if its 



funds justified such a removal at a certain increase in ex- 
penses, the Club having decided that, if practicable, such a 
removal was desired. 

On the sixteenth of the following April the treasurer was 
instructed to offer $800,000 for the Stewart mansion on Fifth 
Avenue and Thirty-fourth Street, a proceeding suspended in 
September because the Stewart heirs refused the $800,000, 
but resumed later (February 13, 1890) on the basis of a lease 
of the property. Owing to the many interests involved and 
to the litigation pending, it was feared that the choice of the 
Stewart mansion for the new club-house must be abandoned. 
At last, however, affairs were arranged, and in February the 
terms were agreed upon, reduced to writing, and agreements 
of lease exchanged, the Club to take the property for a series 
of short terms aggregating twenty-one years. For the first 
five years it was to pay $35,000, for the second $37,500, dur- 
ing the next $40,000, and for the final six years the same. In 
addition, the Club was to pay taxes, possible assessments, 
and other charges on the property. 

Affairs being thus settled, Messrs. J. Sergeant Cram and 
L. Holme were, on February 20, 1890, appointed a commit- 
tee to arrange for the sale of the Benkard house for $75,000; 
and on March i, 1890, a Committee on Improvement took 
possession of the Stewart house, the Board of Managers of 
the new club-house reporting, March 20, 1890, the details of 
the lease. The rent being payable by them quarterly in ad- 
vance from March i, the landlords had received $8750 in dis- 
charge of obligations to June. In addition, $2100 had been 
paid for the furniture of the Stewart mansion. 

By further terms of the lease, security was to be given by 
five persons for the payment of the rent and the discharge of 
the obligations incurred by virtue of the lease during the 
first of the terms of five years, a condition agreed to, several 
members of the Board, with the addition of Mr. George G. 
Haven, becoming guarantors. 



That these members might be free of any personal obliga- 
tion in the matter, the Club agreed to deposit, at any time 
during the five years, $100,000 in satisfactory securities, and 
procure a cancellation of the investment of guarantee; the 
Board of Managers proposing an issue of Club bonds to that 
amount, the proceeds of these bonds to be safely invested in 
a manner satisfactory to the owners of the Stewart mansion. 
In the event of its being decided advisable to increase the 
sum to $150,000, the extra $50,000 was to be devoted to pay- 
ing for such alterations and improvements as the new situa- 
tion of the Club might demand. At the expiration of five 
years the $100,000 thus invested would again become the 
property of the Club, and might be devoted to the discharge 
of bonds to that extent. To justify such expenditure, the 
committee reported that there had been so large an increase 
in membership that the duty of discrimination was becoming 
more and more imperative. 

On April 10, 1890, the plans of the architect, Bruce Price, 
for the improvement of the Stewart property were approved, 
and so well did committee and architect do their work that 
the third, tenth, and seventeenth of December saw the new 
club-house opened for the inspection of the families and 
friends of the members, and the Club's life in the Benkard 
house brought to its end. During the final years in its first 
home, the Manhattan Club had, April 12, 1888, extended its 
courtesies to the New York Club while its club-house was in 
the hands of the builders, and on September 7 of that year 
had g^ven a reception in honor of Allen G. Thurman. 

In 1889 came up the matter of Grover Cleveland and life 
membership. The Club, March 21, 1889, had amended its 
Constitution to permit the making, by the unanimous vote 
of the managers, of any President or ex-President of the 
United States a life member without payment. The first so 
to be honored under the new amendment was ex-President 
Cleveland, April 11, 1889. 



In response, Mr. Cleveland wrote Mr. Frederic R. Cou- 
dert, at that time President of the Manhattan Club, the fol- 
lowing letter : 

F. R. Coudert. Esq. ^^P"^" ^3. 1889. 

My dear Sir: I have just received your letter enclosing a 
note from the Secretary of the Manhattan Club informing 
me of my election to a life membership in that organization, 
in accordance with an amendment of its Constitution. 

The kindly feeling manifested by this action is especially 
gratifying; and yet I am determined to ask of those who 
have been so kind to give further proof of their considera- 
tion, by permitting me to become an every-day, paying, ordi- 
nary member of the Club. In other words, I should be glad 
to surrender my ex-President life membership for the ordi- 
nary contributing membership. 

I understand, of course, that I must run the chance of an 
election; but if the opportunity is afforded me, my intentions, 
fully formed when I took up my residence here, will be car- 
ried out. Can you help me in this matter? 
Yours very sincerely, 

(Signed) Grover Cleveland. 

In 1889 an appropriation of $1000 was made for the Club 
library, a Library Committee consisting of Judge E. Patter- 
son and Messrs. Roger Foster and W. W. Baldwin being 

Before the removal to the new club-house, the limit of 
membership was set, March 20, at twelve hundred and fifty; 
Thomas F. Ryan, a few days later (March 31), joining the 

During this period the Club lost a number of its leading 
members by death, one being John T. Hoffman, in the years 
termed "post-bellum" one of the foremost figures in New 
York City and State politics. Tammany Hall ran him in 
1865 for mayor. His impeccable record won him the race. 


JMEr. i 


ng mt 
of the Club. Ir 

uie iiisizniiersiiif^ ior me wcu- 

/o^^ iifojie nee of an 

e! iis. 


1 I tew day» later 3i)» joining the 

j^tuuj- t; ' the Chib lost a number of its leading 

nscmbers hx being John T. Hoffmnn. in ^be 'v^ears 

termer! one of the foremos 


Among the several opposing candidates was that famous 
religious enthusiast, John Hecker, run by Mozart Hall. It 
was Mayor Hoffman who, on the occasion of his laying the 
corner-stone for the new Tammany Hall on Fourteenth 
Street, made the memorable prophecy that, for the coming 
half-century at least, it would remain headquarters for the 
Democracy of New York. Besides being mayor of the City 
of New York, John T. Hoffman was twice governor of the 
State, "in every station," according to Mr. Manton Marble, 
"justifying the hope of his friends and the confidence of his 
party, and contributing, in the early years of our heavy war 
taxation, wise and instructive counsels to the legislature of 
the State, which have been to our advantage whenever fol- 
lowed, and neglected to our loss." It was, to cite again 
Manton Marble, "the justice, purity, and firmness of his 
character, as proved by future political events, which made 
him as worthy to have preceded Tilden and Manning as to 
have followed Flagg and Seymour in the line of the states- 
men of New York." 

A distinct loss to the Club's roster was William Dorshei- 
mer, a Republican brought into Democratic ranks by his 
disapproval of his party's Reconstruction policy. Soldier, 
United States district attorney, first in the Northern, then 
in the Southern District of New York, and member of Con- 
gress, he brought his activities to a close by entering the 
field of journalism. In all vocations he showed himself 
professionally most efficient. He was likewise one of the 
most attractive of men. Twice lieutenant-governor of the 
Empire State, he will live in her history as the author of the 
remodelled architecture at Albany, as well as of the inter- 
national reservation of the Park and the Falls of Niagara. 

Another death at this time was that of the Republican 
statesman Roscoe Conkling, which occurred in 1888, some 
seven years after his retirement from public life, in which he 
had served four times as representative to Congress, three 



times as United States senator, "a career," says Mr. Man- 
ton Marble, "which left unclouded his title to Club fellow- 
ship and Club pride." Mr. Marble tells us that he "waived 
the highest diplomatic functions, declined the first judicial 
office, resigned the highest senatorial trust, marks of a char- 
acter unique in force and style, one of stainless honor 
through an era of corruption, of unquailing hardihood in a 
day of desertions and disaster, sincere, manly, constant, in- 
capable of disloyalty to a party or a friend." "These," says 
Mr. Marble, "are distinctions beyond the power of antago- 
nists to withhold or of partisans to confer." The last years 
of his life Mr. Conkling was out of tune with his party, which 
will account for his membership in the Manhattan Club. 

The death of Samuel J. Tilden occurred in 1886, and on 
August 10 the Club expressed its sense of the loss of one of 
its most honored members by appointing a committee of 
thirty to attend his funeral in a body, and by ordering a 
preamble and resolution on his death to be entered in full 
upon the minutes of the Club, a copy to be sent to his family. 
This preamble and resolution express in feeling words the 
tribute of Democracy "to him who, by the general consent of 
his fellow-citizens, was entitled to be regarded as one of the 
ablest statesmen New York State has ever produced, one 
fully imbued with the belief that the success of the policy of 
the Democratic Party and the perpetuation of its principles 
were best adapted to the present and future needs of his na- 
tion, and that by the promotion of its success a purified pub- 
lic service might be obtained, while, at the same time, its 
influence would serve as security against the corrupting 
effects of centralized power." 

He easily acquired and never lost his hold upon the mass 
and body of the people, the most malignant attacks of his 
personal and political foes failing to dislodge him from their 
confidence and regard. "As a champion of public morality, 
as a firm believer in popular institutions, as a laborious ser- 



vant of never-questioned integrity, he earned," continues the 
resolution, "what he deserved — the respect of his people 
while living, a place with the best of departed leaders when 
dead. As a wise member of the State legislature, as a gov- 
ernor of the Empire State, as President-elect of the United 
States, he reaped the richest fruits of a statesman's ambi- 


The Club, in recalling the then recent deaths of Seymour, 
Hancock, McClellan, Hendricks, and Tilden, congratulated 
itself and the Democratic Party upon the realization that the 
whole nation mourned their leaders, — "leaders of Democ- 
racy, but also the people's well-loved and trusted servants, 
one of whom, by his wise forbearance under circumstances of 
singular injustice, proving his love of country by patient 
endurance of personal wrong, demonstrating that the 
serenity of his judgment could not be disturbed by personal 
ambition, emotion, or interest." 


The Stewart House — Money Troubles — Truax, O'Sullivan, and Rodie 
—"Uncle Tom" Miller— His Tragic End— Factions of 1896— Colonel 
"Bill" Brown — His famous Cleveland-Hill Dinner — His Resignation 
in a "Huff"— The Reception to Dewey— The Admiral's good Mem- 

HE era of the Stewart house found the Club 
again in financial difficulties. These were 
at times more burdensome and apparently 
less extricable than those from which it had 
recently emerged. Truth to say, the Stew- 
art house was never very popular with a 
large section — especially the older section 
— of the Club. It was much too splendid for comfort. Some 
in derision called it the "Marble Mausoleum," and others the 
"Whited Sepulchre." 

Comyns, the head waiter, already quoted, tells us in his 
interview with Mr. Lyons on the subject of the Club, justly 
and truly, that "in every survey of the many-sided charac- 
ters entering into the history of the Manhattan Club, care 
should be taken not to forget to pay tribute to the men 
whose well-trained minds, business abilities, and personal 
attention lifted it out of terrible financial entanglements 
and replaced it on a sound, safe basis." During the last 



years of its occupancy of the Thirty-fourth Street house it 
certainly encountered many discouragements ; it lost a num- 
ber of its members, reducing its resources, and reached a 
point which required a thorough overhauling and radical 
reshaping of its domestic conditions. 

It was necessary that the greatest executive ability 
should be called in. Amid such a concourse it was not im- 
possible to find such men, though naturally of diversified 
characteristics. In the end a solution was reached so fair in 
its proposals and so practical in its conclusions that it met 
with general and hearty approbation. The final success of 
the scheme justified its authors. These were Sylvester J. 
O'SuUivan and William S. Rodie. Mr. O'Sullivan became 
treasurer, and Mr. Rodie was made chairman of the House 
Committee, a position which he held for many succeeding 
years. Both gentlemen were noted for their splendid busi- 
ness abilities, strong organizing talents, and intense devo- 
tion. They replaced the Club on a firm financial footing, 
giving it a prosperity and independence which it happily 
still enjoys. 

In 1889 Mr. Frederic R. Coudert was elected president of 
the Club, with Mr. C. C. Baldwin for vice-president, Mr. J. 
Edward Simmons (succeeded by Mr. O'SuUivan), treasurer, 
and Mr. David B. Gilbert, whom we have met in the Benkard 
house chapters, secretary. 

On the House Committee of this period were Messrs. J. 
Sergeant Cram, Charles H. Truax, and Cyrus Yale. 

Of all these old members, who, according to Com5ms, "de- 
serve to be remembered with conspicuous affection," none 
more richly merits the honor than Judge Charles H. Truax. 
Of a most unassuming, chivalrous character, he was pos- 
sessed of an amiable temperament that endeared him to all 
who knew him. The story was current that on the occasion 
when his fellow-members honored him with a banquet, in his 
speech dwelling on the friendly footing the company felt for 



each other he said : "Every one of you boys here, except one, 
calls me ^Charlie/ and that one is my son." 

Judge Truax was a notable traveller. He had been twice 
around the world. He was likewise a voracious reader with 
a good memory. He became a dominant figure in local poli- 
tics, for which he had a natural bent, and, being a man of 
admirable tact, was often called upon to settle personal trou- 
bles and solve factional problems. He died a Supreme Court 
justice of New York, having sat upon the bench for over 
twenty-five years. 

He owned the most noted private wine-cellar in New 
York, and was everywhere recognized as an exquisite gour- 
met On the occasion of his death the Club resolution de- 
scribed him "as the most useful, best beloved, and valuable of 
the members of the Club and the Board." The resolution 
continued : "Whether as a member, director, or president of 
the Club, he endeared himself to all by his splendid personal 
qualities and the charm of his companionship, his warm 
heart and generous nature — qualities which made him a 
distinctive feature in the life of the Club, and which left it in 
his debt for his loyal and unselfish devotion to its interests." 

As president of the Manhattan he served from 1899 to 
1908. Coming into the presidency at a time when its affairs 
had reached a low ebb, with Messrs. O' Sullivan and Rodie 
he succeeded in turning the tide effectually and permanently. 
The Club is the happy possessor of a portrait of Judge 
"Charlie," presented to it on February 19, 1902. On his 
voluntary and insistent retirement from the presidency in 
1908, a special vote of thanks was tendered to him for his 
invaluable services. 

It is related of those old Stewart house days that, at three 
every afternoon, there gathered a famous group of cronies, 
men prominent in many diverse walks of life, who won the 
nickname of the "Rocking-chair Fleet." They held their 
sessions in the smoking-room, disbanding punctually as the 


•s-v « 'jf *:* *» it Ik'* 




n ' as t 

" Morgan J. O'Brien 

X C, except QliC, 

>t4; Oi -o mm lor nii 

d a la* 


clock struck six. The foremost of these were D. P. In- 
graham, Arthur Ingraham, Gus Monroe, Fonny Fisher, E. 
C. Chase, Will Murray, and John Woodhall. Their conver- 
sation, tradition says, ranged through all the possibilities of 
science, politics, society, topics of the day, astronomy, and 
gastronomy. An outcome of the latter was the famous salad- 
dressing of D. P. Ingraham, which was voted a "classic." 

A striking figure of those old days was Colonel William L. 
(familiarly known as "Billy") Brown, one of the owners and 
editors of the New York "Daily News," a close friend and 
business colleague of the Hon. Ben Wood. 

It was in 1892, just before Cleveland's second election to 
the Presidency, that Colonel Brown gave a dinner at the 
Club in aid of the effort the friends of Cleveland and Hill 
were making to bring the two together. There had been an 
estrangement arising out of factional differences and per- 
sonal misunderstanding, and the mutual friends of both, in 
the interest of party harmony, were striving to close the 
breach and unify the common interest. 

Famous in the annals of the Club is Colonel Brown's din- 
ner. It was one of the most magnificent repasts ever given 
at the Club. Everything was new, — napery, silver, glass- 
ware, tables, chairs actually made to order for the occasion. 
The menus, each of which cost a fortune, were engraved in 
elaborate design by the most noted artist of the time. Covers 
were laid for thirty-two guests, who indulged in much en- 
thusiasm and considerable hand-shaking. 

Colonel Brown, who in the campaign of 1896 stood by 
Bryan and party regularity, resigned from the Club, in com- 
pany with a number of like-minded members, as a result of 
the demonstration over McKinley's election to the Presi- 
dency. Naturally, the Manhattan was a "Gold Bug." In the 
joy over the defeat of Bryan and Free Silver, New York went 
wild. Party lines were for the time forgotten. A majority 
of the members of the Club, rejoicing over what they re- 



garded as an escape from financial ruin, demonstrated their 
independence by receiving the news of McKinley's election 
with noisy satisfaction. Opposing interests, antagonistic 
political factions and parties, diverse business of all sorts, 
met on common ground. Amid these felicitations occurred 
the incident which caused Colonel Brown to leave the Club. 
On the night of the election, the Union League of New York 
City, the leading Republican Club of the country, headed by 
a military band, marched down Fifth Avenue from Thirty- 
ninth to Thirty-fourth Street, and took possession of the 
Manhattan club-house amid a frenzy of rejoicing. On its 
return to its own club-house, the Union League was escorted 
by a large and hilarious majority of the members of the Man- 
hattan Club. This proceeding being most offensive to Col- 
onel Brown and many others, a number of resignations, his 
among the rest, quickly followed. 

Another clubman destined to live in memory was Cap- 
tain Thomas Miller, affectionately called "dear old Uncle 
Tom," one of the most picturesque of the diversified and 
peculiar types for which the Manhattan Club has been 
noted and who make its history so interesting. During fif- 
teen years "Uncle Tom" daily arrived at the Club promptly 
at five o'clock in the afternoon, and never left before 2 a.m., 
the closing hour. It was remarked of him that he drank 
nothing but tea before nine o'clock; from then onwcird, until 
he quitted the Club, drinking everything except tea. He was 
f simous as a racon teur. He had been on intimate terms with 
most of the prominent and influential members of the Demo- 
cratic Party of his time, and his knowledge of striking inci- 
dents, both political and social, was wide and universal. He 
had an effusive and altogether striking personality. His 
reminiscences were the joy of his associates. He was also 
famous for his clam and oyster stews, the recipes for which 
were handed over to Joe of the shell-fish counter, thence- 
forth bearing the brand of the Manhattan Club. "Dear old 



Uncle Tom" suggested the menu for many an important 
Club dinner. 

During twenty-five years he lived by himself in a hall bed- 
room not far from the club-house. One night, when the snow 
was falling heavily, he incautiously ventured forth. He 
should not have gone alone. He had grown, indeed, very old 
and feeble. It was two o'clock a.m., his usual hour. The 
storm was at its height. It proved too much for him. The 
next morning he was found lying unconscious in Madison 
Square, barely alive. Borne to his little hall room, "Uncle 
Tom" soon ceased to breathe. 

The "star boarder" of the Manhattan for twenty years, Mr. 
Rodie's colleague in the resuscitation of the Club's finances, 
was Sylvester J. O' Sullivan. Though often a member of the 
House Committee, he was better known as treasurer. He 
possessed a most interesting and lovable personality. He 
was six and a half feet in height, and of perfect symmetry. 
Very exact, minute, and methodical, never a day was he 
absent from his place at the dinner-table — always the same 
table in the same spot in the dining-room, with practically 
the same chums around it. Even on occasions when ban- 
quets were held, this table at the one locality was reserved 
for O' Sullivan — known as the "Widow" — and his friends. It 
was called the "Boarding-house." About it gathered men, 
but few of whom are still living, of widely different callings, 
held together by the sturdy character, cordial ways, and all- 
around attractiveness of Sylvester J. O' Sullivan. The very 
identity of the "Boarding-house" and its table has been lost 
since the death of this able, useful, and generous man. 

Mr. O' Sullivan could never be tempted to make a speech. 
If called upon, he invariably recited : 

"There was an old hen that had a wooden leg; 
*Twas the best old hen that ever laid an egg. 
She laid more eggs than any chicken on the farm — 
Another little drink won't do us any harm." 



It was in those days that Judge Beach and Judge Allen, 
eminent members of both Bench and Bar, were conspicuous 
habitues of the Manhattan. Judge Miles Beach was a distin- 
guished New York lawyer before he went on the Bench. On 
a certain occasion he and Judge Allen appeared with a guest 
of naval appearance, who turned out to be Admiral Dewey. 
Years later, in 1899, — for that was away back in the early 
eighties, — the hero of Manila was given a wondrous ovation 
in New York, following upon his recent victories. The Club 
gave him a notable reception. On this occasion the club- 
house was decorated with United States flags made into a 
variety of designs. There was much martial music and lusty 
cheering by three hundred members. Judge Truax presided, 
and Mr. Douglas Taylor, seconded by Mr. Jefferson M. 
Levy, proposed resolutions to the "brave and generous offi- 
cers and gallant men," among whom was one Manhattan 
member — Flag-Lieutenant Bromley. The oration of the 
evening was delivered by James B. Eustis, recently ambas- 
sador to France. 

Dewey was a man who never forgot a person or thing once 
seen. On the edge of the crowd of that evening, so dense 
that the staircase leading to the dining-room — it was in the 
present club-house — had to be roped, the famous guest espied 
a certain figure. After gazing at the figure for a moment or 
two, he beckoned to him and extended his hand. 

"I have been watching you for some time," he said pleas- 
antly ; "and I want to tell you that I have not forgotten how 
well you served me at the old Manhattan club-house on 
Thirty-fourth Street, when I went there with Judge Beach 
and Judge Allen." 

It was Alfred Comyns, at that time head waiter of the 
Club for over fifteen years, now for thirty years, but for 
whose good memory the Club might have lost the tradition 
of many celebrated persons and doughty Democrats. 


Club Proceedings in the Stewart House — A Round of Receptions to 
Gorman, Van Wyck, and Cleveland and Stevenson — Death of the 
distinguished Frederic R. Coudert. 

T was in December, 1890, that the Stewart 
house was pronounced ready for Club oc- 
cupancy, and on the third, tenth, and sev- 
enteenth days of that month the famous 
mansion, at that time one of the wonders 
of New York, was thrown open for the 
inspection of the families and friends of the 
members. The Stewzirt house, erstwhile home of the mer- 
chant prince, A. T. Stewart, was, as one may learn from the 
newspapers of that day, considered not only the handsomest 
residence in the great metropolis, but the stateliest on the 
continent. Standing in its marble splendor, with its noble 
pillars and fine entranceways, at a conspicuous corner of 
Fifth Avenue, it long remained one of the sights of the town. 
The Manhattan Club, in taking possession, made no altera- 
tions in its exterior, and permitted only such changes within 
as were needful to convert a private dwelling into a club- 
house. The decorations were left untouched, and much of 
the furniture was purchased by the Club. The Gold, the 
Blue, and the White Room, all leading into each other; the 



Lace Room, in buff and blue; the capacious picture-gallery, 
the imposing entrance hall and stairway, won lively admira- 
tion from all those fortunate enough to be admitted, and it 
was the general verdict that the Manhattan Club had indeed 
a club-house in keeping with its position as the leading 
Democratic Club of America. 

The A. T. Stewart house, in the estimation of the archi- 
tects of that day, was one of the noblest buildings in all the 
land. It was in Italian Renaissance style, weakened, how- 
ever, by a French mansard roof, added by Mr. Stewart when 
he needed an upper story. The entrance steps were the talk 
of New York, each one quite thirty feet wide, the first plat- 
form being, it was claimed, the largest block of marble ever 
quarried here. A fine feature was the terrace on the Thirty- 
fourth Street side. The building of this palace consumed 
seven years. The marble railing around the house cost 
$50,000; the rotunda, $100,000. The entrance hall, giving 
an effect of imposing vastness, was twenty-five feet in 
height, six pillars, each carved, even to its overhanging 
capital, of one piece of Florentine marble, supporting elab- 
orately ornamented beams. The white marble stairway, 
winding along the wall to a rotunda, was considered a mar- 
vel of architectural skill. 

The House Committee chose the great room with three 
windows — two overlooking Fifth Avenue and one Thirty- 
fourth Street — for the Club parlor. Its carpet, made to 
order, and woven, at the bidding of Mr. Stewart, in one piece, 
repeated the frescoing of the ceiling for a pattern, — as, in 
fact, did all the carpets in the large rooms of the mansion. 
The furnishing of this room consisted of rosewood furniture 
inlaid with gilt, plush-covered cabinets, mirrors and chan- 
deliers. All the floors, including that of the basement, were 
of Italian marble. The dining-room extended across the 
whole Fifth Avenue front of the third story, in size forty by 
twenty feet. It was indeed the apartment designed by Mr. 



•■s3yi.ri*5e ST.- 



GTi?ir>'ie'1 here. A f. 

Alton B. Parker ^^ Yi 


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ty by 

"j ^r^" 


Stewart for the use of General Grant at his pleasure. A cool- 
ness, however, springing up between the two, it was never so 
used. To avoid the odors of cooking, the kitchen was on the 
top floor. There also were bedchambers for Club members. 
The reception-room was upholstered in leather and lighted 
by large, high windows framed in white marble, as were 
those of the other rooms. As arranged by the Club, there 
were private dining-rooms, a number of card-rooms, a bil- 
liard-table occupying the former picture-gallery, and a cafe 
in the basement. The staff of employees numbered one hun- 
dred and twelve persons, Mr. P. McGregor Cummings being 
superintendent. The chef at this time was Domenico Gian- 

Once settled in its splendid new home, the Club began 
giving receptions, the first planned being that offered Sena- 
tor Gorman for his efforts to defeat the so-called "Force 
Bill," against the passage of which the Club had passed 
resolutions on December 27 of the preceding year. Senator 
Gorman, however, declined the honor of being thus indi- 
vidualized in the matter, on the ground that it was not he 
alone who deserved it. New features, also, were ladies* re- 
ceptions and loan exhibitions of works of art. 

The Saratoga Platform of the Empire State Democrats, 
adopted September 30, 1891, called for the passage of ener- 
getic resolutions by the Club, which, in pledging its support, 
declared that since the Manhattan had been founded for the 
advcincement of Democratic principles, it believed it to be 
expedient to assert, whenever occasion offered or required, 
its sympathy with, and approval of, all measures calculated 
to promote the success of the Democratic Party. 

It therefore endorsed the Saratoga Platform, at the same 
time condemning the waste of public money by the Repub- 
lican Party, its attempts by means of sectional legislation to 
revive old animosities, its defiance of the people's will and of 
its own interest in matters of revenue reform. Roswell 



P. Flower was endorsed as Democratic candidate for the 
governorship of New York; Fassett, the Republican candi- 
date, condemned. Flower was elected, and the following 
year (1892), Democratic victory having crowned the Presi- 
dential Ceimpaign, the Club at once arranged for a reception 
in honor of the President and Vice-President elect, Grover 
Cleveland and Adlai E. Stevenson, to take place on Novem- 
ber 10, 1892. 

It was at this time that the Lotos Club, founded in 1870 
for the promotion of art and letters, found itself temporarily 
without a home. With characteristic hospitality, the Man- 
hattan Club on May i extended club courtesies to its mem- 
bers, as it had previously (April 13) extended them to the 
Alpha Delta Phi. 

The grave political issue of the tariff question, brought 
about by the McKinley Act of 1890, unsatisfactory even to 
those who had passed it, excited in 1894 strong factional and 
national feeling, which on May 24 found expression in the 
Manhattan Club in a resolution framed by Mr. Walter Stan- 
ton. It voiced the Club's disapproval of the tariff blunders, 
which, it held, were responsible for the sufferings of the 
memorable winter of 1893-94. 

The Club took that occasion also to pledge itself anew to 
the principle of a tariff for revenue only. It urged the pas- 
sage of a revenue reform bill, declared that every hour of 
delay was a crime against the people, and condemned the 
proposed passage of an income tax as unnecessary, unjust, 
undemocratic, and in violation of the Constitution of the 
United States. 

The Club decreed that a copy of these resolutions be sent 
every Democratic member of Congress. 

In the following October, again at the motion of Mr. 
Stanton, a campaign committee of fifty was appointed by the 
president, among its members being Walter Stanton, Wil- 
liam C. Whitney, Thomas F. Ryan, Perry Belmont, John T. 



Agnew, Theodore W. Myers, H. R. Ickelheimer, Joseph J. 
O'Donohue, John D. Crimmins, Henry C. Miner, C. F. 
Dieterich, Randolph Guggenheimer, Robert Maclay Bull, 
John C. Calhoun, J. D. Archbold, William Butler Duncan, 
Elijah P. Smith, Commodore Elbridge T. Gerry, Charles J. 
Canda, Charles A. DuVivier, George Alexander Brown, 
Daniel K. Bayne, Joseph C. Hendrix, Amos F. Eno, Jacob 
Ruppert, Jr., John R. Bennett, Louis V. Bell, George C. 
Clausen, Calvin S. Brice, John C. Graham, and Lloyd S. 

In keeping with these movements was the reception, pro- 
posed by the Club, October 4, to be g^ven in honor of the 
Empire State nominees. 

A ladies* reception, of which no memorial seems to have 
lingered in Club records, was given, April 11, 1895; and 
again we find the Club, on May 24, 1895, extending its hospi- 
talities to Democratic editors and their wives, and, on No- 
vember 14, to the commissioned officers of the United States 
men-of-war in New York Harbor for a fortnight. 

A vote of thanks was extended, April 9, 1896, to Thomas 
B. Clarke for services in connection with the loan exhibition 
of pictures arranged by the Club. 

The Club, consistent in its principles, believed the cause of 
the business stagnation of 1896 to be the agitation in favor 
of the free coinage of silver. Accordingly, on May 28, 1896, 
it passed resolutions endorsing "one single monetary stand- 
ard of value to be used in the purchase of merchandise and 
payment of debts, as the imperative demand of all interested 
in secure and prosperous domestic and international com- 
merce." The Club thereafter denounced all agitation in 
favor of the enactment of laws for the unlimited coinage of 
silver at any ratio, or the adoption in any form of a double 
standard of value in money, and proclaimed its adherence ta 
the gold-dollar standard of money value as the only safe 
basis for all our foreign and domestic transactions. 



It held that the coming Democratic Convention, to be 
held that year, should endorse the administration of Presi- 
dent Cleveland and declare a gold basis for sound money to 
be the one prominent issue at the coming election. 

On May lo, 1898, a meeting was called in celebration of 
Dewey's victory in Manila Bay. That same year (October 3) 
a reception was given to Augustus Van Wyck, Democratic 
candidate for governor of New York. 

Again, February 9, 1899, Grover Cleveland was requested 
to accept life membership without payment. 

In the death of Mr. Coudert, which took place at Wash- 
ington, December 20, 1903, the Club lost one of its most 
valued members. In the resolutions drawn up as expressive 
of Club sympathy and appreciation, we read of his having 
been an active and conspicuous member of the Club, an 
honored and influential friend of the organization, taking 
always a profound interest in its welfare, and rendering 
faithful and efficient service in its behalf. 

Mr. Coudert joined the Club on December 3, 1874, and 
continued to be an active and conspicuous member up to the 
time of his death, serving as president from 1889 until 1899, 
when he voluntarily resigned, having previously done duty 
on the Board of Managers in 1880, and as vice-president for 
nine years, from 1880 to 1889. As president he displayed the 
greatest zeal and ability, evoking the lasting gratitude of his 
fellow-members. With Chauncey M. Depew, Mr. Coudert 
shared great popularity with business men. He earned his 
own way through Columbia College, then at Park and 
Church Streets, doing newspaper work. He was a good 
racontetw, full of wit and humor, possessing a clear, musical 
voice, all of which gave him great acceptance as an after-din- 
ner speaker. He was the recipient of decorations from both 
France and Italy, the former bestowing the insignia of the 
Legion of Honor upon him. A famous Manhattan private 
dinner was the one given by him to the Board of Managers 



on the eve of his sailing to act as counsel in the Behring Sea 
difficulty. Mr. Coudert thus was president almost the entire 
time of the sojourn of the Club in the Stewart house, Judge 
Truax only succeeding him in 1899, the date of its removal 
to its present quarters, an account of which, and the events 
leading thereto, we shall hear in the coming chapter. 

But first reference must be made to two members of note, 
prominent in the Club in the Stewart era. One was that 
enthusiastic Democrat, Christopher C. Baldwin, vice-presi- 
dent of the Club and former president of the Louisville and 
Nashville Railroad, who rallied the Democracy after Han- 
cock's defeat and issued the call to the famous Cooper 
Union meeting that led to the election of Cleveland; the 
other, J. Edward Simmons, president of the Fourth National 
Bank, an office to which he was elected when he owned no 
stock, knew no director, and had never been in the bank. 


The Stewart House a "White Elephant" — Removal to Cheaper Quar- 
ters Imperative — Hunting for a New Club-house — The Final 
Choice — A Happy Solution. 

HE Club, as we have seen, moved into the 
Stewart house in 1890. At the time there 
was a committee, consisting of Messrs. J. 
Sergeant Cram and L. Holme, appointed 
(February 20, 1890) to consider the sale of 
the Benkard house for $75,000. On June 9, 
1892, an appropriation of $15,000 was made 
from the reserve fund of the Club to discharge its indebt- 

From that date onward financial affairs seem to have be- 
come troublesome. The expenses of keeping up such an 
establishment proved to be enormous, since on January 11, 
1894, we find the Club disturbed over its electric-light bill. 
In spite of all efforts to reduce the expense, the bills had 
doubled and redoubled until the one under discussion 
reached the sum of $9500. As no compromise could be ar- 
rived at, the Club decided to use gas exclusively, and to make 
inquiries about the practicability of procuring for the Club 
an electric plant of its own. 

In February of that year an amendment to increase the 


The Ste^"''* TT..>itr. ^ 

Victor J. Dowllng 


no cor 

^ ivi i4i«; vjfcui 



dues fifty dollars semi-annually was carried, and on Decem- 
ber 5, 1895, a committee was appointed to prepare a plan 
to discharge the indebtedness of the Club; another, of five 
members, at the same time, being asked to inquire into the 
Club's rights and privileges regarding the lease of the 
Stewart house, and to look about for a more suitable resi- 

The Club, December 10, adopted a motion to extend an 
invitation of membership to the members of the Democratic 
Club, without pa5mient of an initiation fee, provided one 
hundred joined in a body. 

In January, 1899, the question of the Stewart house lease 
was taken up in earnest, the Board of Managers holding a 
meeting on the twelfth, with the result that a committee of 
three, including the President, with power to increase its 
number if expedient, was appointed to confer with the 
owners of the Stewart house and endeavor to obtain a sur- 
render of the lease, and also to look about for another club- 

The managers reported that the experience of the two 
previous years had shown the revenues of the Club to be 
inadequate to its expenses, and that they had, in conse- 
quence, devised a plan for obtaining voluntary subscriptions 
to bonds for the purpose of liquidating the Club's indebted- 
ness; and, to this end, a committee had been appointed to 
dispose of the lease of the Stewart house and secure new 
quarters — members, according to Article II, Section 14, to 
be assessed fifty dollars to pay the Club's indebtedness. 

The Board of Managers, composed of Mr. Coudert, Mr. 
Gilbert, and Judge Truax, announced, February 6, 1899, that 
they had successfully negotiated with the owners of the 
Stewart house, who agreed to cancel the lease after the fol- 
lowing May. Upon mature reflection and careful con- 
sideration, it had been decided to take the premises of the 
University Club, on the corner of Madison Avenue and 



Twenty-sixth Street, from that date, at a rental of $24,000 
per annum, free from taxes. In the opinion of the Board, it 
was plain that the enormous expenses incident to the 
Stewart house could not be maintained — a fact by this time 
universally conceded by the Club. 

The premises of the University Club were considered a 
great improvement as to location, convenience, and comfort. 
The expenses would be moderate enough to permit of a 
reduction in the annual dues from $100 to $75. 

"Resignations have thus far been few," the committee 
reported, "while the payment of assessments has been, in 
promptness and cordiality, beyond our expectations. But 
no effort in the way of judicious economy or improvement in 
actual or prospective conditions can maintain the high 
standard of the Manhattan Club without the continued and 
generous co-operation of our members. If they believe that 
the Manhattan Club has been in the past a useful instru- 
mentality for the promotion of sound Democratic principles, 
they may, with scarcely an effort, place its success in the 
future beyond any question. The future is in their hands. 
The Club has survived political defeat, financial depression, 
and party dissensions ; it has always been firm and zealous in 
the maintenance of Democratic principles, and its influence 
has been felt wherever these principles were imperilled. It 
now needs only the ssime loyal support that it has heretofore 
received to assure it a useful and brilliant career." 

So satisfactory appears to have been the response to this, 
that a statement was issued, January 16, 1899, showing that 
the finances of the Club had weathered all storms and 
showed a strong balance. 

In the latter part of May, 1899, the Club left the Stewart 
house, and for something over a month was the recipient of 
courtesies from other New York City clubs. July 15 of that 
year it took possession of its present quarters. 

There is still in existence a record of the first bar-check 



issued. It bore the signature of Judge C. H. Truax, called 
for twenty cents, and was marked "A-1080, July 15, 1899." 
The first wine-check was made out, July 14, 1899, the day 
before taking possession, on an order from the Moving Com- 
mittee, composed of Augustine Monroe, Theodore Rich, and 
Thomas R. Fisher. It was marked "D-i," and called for one 
quart No. 240 (old rye), $1.75, and two quarts No. 427 
(Poland water), $0.40, making a total of $2.15, and was 
signed "A. Monroe." 

The officers at the time of the removal were Judge Truax, 
president; John Hone, vice-president; Sylvester J. O' Sulli- 
van, treasurer; David B. Gilbert, secretary. On the House 
Committee were William S. Rodie, John Hunter, Jr., and 
Pierre F. MacDonald, all of whom continued in office until 

The finances of the Club from the day of its removal ad- 
justed themselves satisfactorily, and continued along the 
line of prosperity; for on March 19, 1903, we read of the 
treasurer triumphantly announcing that the Club had not 
a dollar of indebtedness, but rather $46,000 surplus, as a re- 
sult of living in a club-house suitable to its revenues. "We 
have money in our boots," said Sylvester J. O'SuUivzm. 
From then onward until the present day we hear no more of 
financial entanglements. 

On January 13, 1910, Judge Victor J. Dowling, president, 
stated that it was the Club's wish to secure a site on which 
to erect a suitable building for its permanent home. Men- 
tion of plans for this purchase of Club property was made 
January 12, 191 1, and eventually the present site of the Club 
was purchased for $500,000. 


Final Proceedings— The New Century— Purchase of a Permanent 
Home— Celebration of the Club's Semi-Centenary under Happy 

HE Club in 1900 celebrated its Thirty-fifth 
Anniversary by a banquet, and gave its fa- 
mous dinner, January 10 of that year, to 
Judge Truax, in recognition of his services 
toward the restoration of its prestige and 

Mr. W. S. Rodie, December 12, 1901, pro- 
posed a reunion of non-resident members scattered through- 
out thirty-eight States. The purpose he had in mind, he Sciid, 
was an attempt to revive the interest of the people in the 
fundamental doctrines underlying our Democratic form of 
government. He held that, since the Manhattan Club had 
been founded, at a critical period of the nation's history, for 
the advancement of these Democratic principles, it was an 
appropriate time, by such a reunion, to counteract the effects 
of the policies of the Republican Party, then so subversive of 
those same principles and doctrines. 

The Club agreeing, Washington's Birthday of 1902 was 
chosen for the reunion, Messrs. W. S. Rodie, John Hone, 
John G. Carlisle, and Perry Belmont being named a commit- 



tee to arrange for the guests, and the secretary, treasurer, 
and House Committee being authorized to solicit subscrip- 
tions to defray the expenses. The reunion was a great 

"Of all the many attractive and pleasant banquets given at 
the Manhattan Club," says Mr. Dufour, in his interesting 
narrative, "one of the most notable and historical was that 
given by Mr. John B. McDonald to his engineers on the com- 
pletion of the Subway. It was remarkable in every way. 
Mr. McDonald, it will be remembered, was the famous 
builder of the Subway. The table was profusely decorated 
with all the necessary adjuncts of an earth-digger's trade. 
It represented a diminutive Subway. The menus were works 
of art, showing the best skill of the engraver. Each menu 
contained pictures of the most difficult obstacles that the en- 
gineer encounters. On the front cover was a photograph of 
Mr. McDonald, and the name, in gold, of the engineer in 
charge of that section. Mr. McDonald, by his amiability, 
gentleness, and thorough good nature, had won for himself 
the affection of his brother-members of the Club. Men of all 
professions and callings were at this dinner, and vied with 
one another in paying tribute to the man whose genius 
created the means of relief which New York had been so 
long crying for." 

Other affairs of these later years have been the subscrip- 
tion dinner to the justices of the Appellate Division of the 
Supreme Court, May 9, 1908; a reception to John A. Dix, 
October 4, 1910; a dinner to Governor Dix, March 23, 1911; 
and a dinner to Senator O'Gorman, April 22, 191 1. 

On September 14, 1901, President McKinley died from 
the effects of a wound received at the hand of an assassin at 
the Buffalo Exposition, September 6. The Manhattan Club 
at once passed resolutions, drawn up by Charles W. Dayton, 
expressive of its horror at the unprovoked tragedy, and of 
appreciation of Mr. McKinley's services to his country, of 



his unblemished character, of his personal and official life, 
"so typical," said Mr. Dayton, "of Lincoln's immortal aphor- 
ism, *With malice toward none, with charity for all.' " 

The Club further expressed its deep sympathy for Mrs. 
McKinley, and an attested copy of the resolutions was or- 
dered to be sent her, the club-house to be draped in black for 
thirty days. 

In 1904 Democratic hopes revived in the nomination of 
Parker and Davis. The Club at once appointed a committee 
of one hundred to aid in campaign work, and a reception, 
proposed September 29, was arranged in honor of Judge 
Parker for October 5, 1904. 

In 1908 Judge Parker became vice-president of the Club, 
Morgan J. O'Brien then being president; and in 19 10 Judge 
Parker succeeded him, Charles W. Dayton becoming vice- 
president. During Judge Parker's term as vice-president the 
Club passed resolutions regarding the Democratic League, 
and he, seconded by Mr. McDonald, proposed that the 
League be invited to hold future meetings at the Manhattan 
Club, a copy of the resolution to be sent Hon. Thomas M. 
Osborne at Albany. 

Judge Parker, seconded by Mr. O'Sullivan, further pro- 
posed that the Club, as an expression of its sympathy with 
the purposes of the Democratic League organized at Sara- 
toga on September 9 and 10, arrange for a subscription din- 
ner to its executive committee, a committee of five to be 
appointed by the President to attend to the details. At the 
same meeting Mr. O'Sullivan, seconded by Judge Parker, 
proposed that the hospitalities of the Club be extended by 
formal invitation to the officers representing foreign navies 
and that of the United States, and to all foreign visitors to 
the Hudson-Fulton celebration. 

It was Judge Victor J. Dowling, president of the Club 
from 191 1 to 1914, when the present president, Mr. Philip J. 
Britt, was elected, who stated at a regular meeting, January 


'••T'^ %f.*:1^*tt. 


Parker £o; 
In igoh 
Morgan J. u Jiineii t^ACii ueir;^ p£ 

Tyf' I fir *«•'«•• 

Philip J. Britt 

sanK; me- 




Dowiing, prt 

■n '#*«■; i^T>r T-!r**=>- 


13, 19 10, that it was the Club's desire to purchase a site on 
which to build a club-house "suitable to the perpetuation of 
the best traditions of the Democratic Party" — a desire the 
more justified since it had been stated on January 16, 1899, 
that the Club had weathered its financial perils, and on 
May 19, 1903, the treasurer had declared the Club free of 
all indebtedness, with a $46,000 surplus. Eventually it was 
decided to buy the site of the present club-house, to-day 
beautified anew for the Club's semi-centennial. 

We thus have seen the Manhattan Club, in the fifty years 
of its existence, progress through stress and storm, in spite 
of misfortune and discouragement, towards a permanent 
home, the principles of Democracy and their preservation its 
incentive to continuous existence. To-day its records show 
that 5473 Democrats have, in these fifty years, been carried 
on its roster. Of these, 914 have passed beyond discussions 
of Democracy or enjoyment of "those certain conditions" 
which have bound together the members of their Club ; 906 
have dropped out, and 2404 resigned. To-day the actual 
membership is 1249. 

An interesting coincidence in the history of the Club is the 
fact that it began its existence with a Democratic President 
after Republican supremacy; and to-day, its Fiftieth Anni- 
versary, Democracy again occupies the "Seats of the 
Mighty" in the National Government. 


The Club Library— Mr. James Dunne, Librarian of the Manhattan 
Club, recalls Literary History— Gifts— Purchases— Rare Volumes 

HE history of the Manhattan Club would 
indeed be incomplete without mention of 
its library. The number of volumes may 
not be as large as in some other libraries, 
but the editions are very choice. Mr. James 
Dunne has prepared the following account 
of the library's growth, a reading of which 
will lead to a wider appreciation of its worth. 

The Committee on Library believes that a brief reference 
to the Club library, and the books that fill its shelves, may 
bring to the members a realization of the intellectual treat 
that is afforded them in their moments of leisure. Unlike the 
old English clubs, — of which John Aubrey, writing in 1689, 
said, "We now use the word Clubbe for a sodality in a tav- 
ern," — the modern club, organized for the promotion of 
good-fellowship, as well as for social and literary intercourse 
among its members, has come to regard its library as one of 
its indispensable accessories. 

Founded in 1865, the Manhattan Club numbered among 
its organizers many of the leading authors, statesmen, pub- 



licists, journalists, artists, and literary men of that period; 
and through their culture, their literary tastes, and their 
broad-mindedness in the discussion of public questions, the 
Club gradually became a social and literary centre that drew 
to its membership the leaders in the public and intellectual 
thought of the day. As a consequence the Club library was 
started, and thereafter, as well by frequent purchases as by 
voluntary donations on the part of the members, there were 
brought together a goodly number of the books that hold the 
highest place among works of classical and standard liter- 
ature. Many of the books so purchased and donated will be 
found on the library shelves to-day. After the Club's re- 
moval from the Stewart mansion to Twenty-sixth Street, 
the library was greatly neglected: the books, in respect of 
binding, were allowed to become unsightly ; and, in respect 
of authorship and subject-matter, were indiscriminately 
scattered upon the library shelves. In the fall of 1902, how- 
ever, the Board of Governors appointed a new Library Com- 
mittee of seven members, and instructed them not only to 
examine into the condition of the library and its needs, but 
to submit a report on these subjects, coupled with such 
recommendation respecting the library's future as to the 
committee might seem expedient. So empowered, the new 
committee immediately entered upon their work, and in due 
course submitted their report and recommendations to the 
governors, who, in November, 1902, approved of them, and 
generously appropriated for the uses of the committee the 
sum of five hundred dollars, "to be expended, in their discre- 
tion," in connection with the improvement of the library. 
Possessed of this appropriation, the committee at once ad- 
dressed themselves to the work of bringing order out of 
chaos, and to that end weeded out quite a number of the 
books that were deemed worthless for library purposes, and, 
selecting some three hundred books that were deemed 
worthy of rebinding, had them rebound in buckram. On 



their return they were rearranged under cognate heads and 
replaced on the library shelves. Thus brightened up and 
greatly improved, the library became a matter of interest to 
the members, who, responding to the committee's zeal in 
continuing the work of improvement, made many promises 
— some of which were kept — to donate standard works of 
literature and fill the open spaces that the shelves disclosed. 

In 1904, what with purchases and donations, the books had 
so increased in number that the committee found itself un- 
able to arrange them in the book-cases then at their disposal. 
These book-cases, beautifully carved and of great value, had 
been brought from the Stewart mansion, but for the practical 
uses of a club library they were wholly inadequate. Recog- 
nizing this fact, the Committee on Library made a further 
report to the governors, urging the sale of the cases and the 
installation in their stead of the Globe- Wernicke Company 
system of "units," as being the most serviceable for the pur- 
poses of a club library. Yielding to the committee's rec- 
ommendations, the governors authorized the sale of the 
Stewart cases, and to the proceeds derived from such sale 
generously added an appropriation large enough to warrant 
the laying of a hardwood floor and the installation of the 
beautiful book-cases that now adorn the library of the Club. 

With the new floor duly completed, the new cases duly in- 
stalled, and the putting of the room in complete order, the 
committee at once proceeded to replace the books upon the 
shelves according to the following arrangement: Case A: 
Poetry and Drama. Case B: General Literature. Case 
C: Essays, Speeches, etc. Case D: Fiction and Romance. 
Case E : History, Memoirs, Biographies, etc. Case F : Bound 
Volumes of Magazines. Case G: Encyclopedias, Books of 
Reference, etc. This arrangement was determined upon in 
order to bring together in the same cases books bearing upon 
cognate topics, and thus enable members to locate easily the 
particular book or books of which they might be in search. 



Having determined upon this arrangement, the commit- 
tee proceeded to weed out such books as, in the judgment 
of its members, seemed useless and out of date, and thus 
to make room for recent editions of books that were deemed 
vital in literature, science, and art. Among the books so 
weeded out and put aside were city directories, reports of the 
comptroller, reports on water supply, reports of chief engi- 
neers, college and university catalogues, and others, all of 
which, though seldom used, were very bulky and occupied a 
large amount of shelf space, which, the committee thought, 
could be used for the housing of such books as would appeal 
more strongly to the members of the Club. 

With the displacing of these bulky books, the committee 
found itself confronted with the problem of empty shelves, 
the unfilled spaces of which were sufficient to accommodate 
some five hundred volumes. To meet this emergency the 
committee appealed to the generosity of the members. The 
appeal was not in vain, as many of the members responded 
promptly with generous contributions of money and of 
books. Prominent among the members responding to the 
committee's call by way of cash contributions and donations 
of books were Sylvester J. O' Sullivan (since deceased), 
Frederick B. Tilghman, John Lynn, Thomas F. Gilroy, Jr., 
J. C. McCoy, Lee Kohns, Hon. Francis M. Scott, Edwin H. 
Denby, James Dunne, David B. Gilbert (since deceased), 
and Joseph M. Byrne. Due to their generous giving, few 
imiilled spaces will be found in the library shelves to-day. 

Assembled as they have been for the Club members, the 
books in the library deserve a passing notice. While, as al- 
ready shown by the arrangement of the books in respect of 
subject-matter, no branch of classical or general literature 
has been neglected, the committee desires to have it known 
that in respect of anthologies, encyclopedias, and works of 
general reference the Club is peculiarly fortunate in its col- 



Among the Anthologies will be found : "The World's Best 
Classics," fifty volumes; "An English Garner," twelve vol- 
umes; "The World's Best Literature," thirty-two volumes; 
"The Universal Anthology," thirty-two volumes; "The 
Bibliophile Library," thirty volumes; and "American Liter- 
ature," twelve volumes. Into the pages of these anthologies 
men of business with but few moments' leisure may casually 
dip, find, and, finding, commit to memory not only the wise 
and witty apothegms of all the ages, but 

"quoted odes, and jewels five-words-long. 
That on the stretch'd forefinger of all Time 
Sparkle forever" ; 

and, so finding and treasuring, return to their daily avoca- 
tions, wiser and better men. 

In Encyclopedias the Club possesses The Encyclopaedia 
Britannica; The International Encyclopedia, The Catholic 
Encyclopedia, The Jewish Encyclopedia, The English En- 
cyclopedia, and others. To these treasure-houses of univer- 
sal knowledge the student, the scholar, and the man of 
business may repair, and in condensed form, on any given 
subject, obtain the required information that has been gath- 
ered for him by acknowledged masters in their respective 
fields of thought. 

The browsing student can spend his leisure hours in the 
perusal of "Notes and Queries," one hundred and fifty vol- 
umes; "Punch," one hundred and fifty volumes; or "Pepys's 
Diary," twenty volumes; or he can reread the fascinating 
stories of Burton's "Arabian Nights," sixteen volumes, or 
other works of like interest. 

If Poetry interests him, he can commune with "The 
British Poets," one hundred and fifty volumes; if "Byronic 
power and gloom" impress him, he can read his favorite poet 
in two editions of eighteen and fifteen volumes respectively; 
or he can turn to Goldsmith in twelve volumes; to Browning, 


Smith M. Weed 

umes: "I 

us; or 


ten volumes; to Poe, eight volumes; to Longfellow, twelve 
volumes; or to Bryant, Holmes, Whittier, and Emerson in 
twenty volumes. 

If the Drama calls him, he will find Shakespeare in several 
different editions, and "Marlowe of the mighty line" he will 
find in the worthy company of Ben Jonson, Massinger and 
Ford, Beaumont and Fletcher, as also the somewhat repre- 
hensible Wycherley. 

History, Memoirs, and Biography are adequately repre- 
sented; among Essays and Speeches will be found Burke, 
Carlyle, and Macaulay ; while in Fiction and Romance, Scott, 
Fielding, Smollett, Balzac, Dumas, Richardson, Thackeray, 
Dickens, Cooper, Meredith, Stevenson, Kipling, and others 
make a splendid showing in their chosen fields. 

In browsing among the books, the bibliophile here and 
there will run across a bibliographical rarity, such as "The 
Turkish Spy in Paris," 163 7-1 682, in seven volumes; "The 
Attic Nights" of Aulus Gellius, three volumes; and a reprint 
in facsimile (1593 edition) of "Venus and Adonis," "The 
Rape of Lucrece," "The Passionate Pilgrim," "A Lover's 
Complaint," "Pericles," and the Sonnets. 

As a room the library is delightful. Fronting upon Madi- 
son Square Park, three of its large windows open on a bal- 
cony where the book-lover may betake himself and, in undis- 
turbed quietude, hold converse with all that is great and 
good in books that were written not for a day, but for all 

Taken as a whole, the library is worthy of the Manhattan 
Club, and the Club is justly proud of its possession. 


The Contemporary Manhattan Club — Meeting of Old and New — Pres- 
ent Governors of the Club and their Records — The President and 
Ex-Presidents— Prominent Members— Some Groups within the 
Club— Thirty-year and Older Members of the Club— Notable Em- 

N organization is as old as its oldest member 
and as young as its youngest. But the two 
meet on the common ground of the present 
tense. The one reflects the other. The 
new keeps fresh the memory of the old, car- 
ries on the ideals of the old, builds upon 
II them, extends their scope, revises them; 
and in the new the old lives, the pioneers of the earlier day 
find, not their graves, but their immortality. 

The problem of attacking the "Who *s Whos" of the pres- 
ent Manhattan Club is of so grave a nature, freighted as it is 
with pitfalls and other dangers free from childlike attributes, 
that one is moved to summon to his aid the tender mercies 
of an anecdote dealing with Mr. George Moore, the most 
famous of contemporary Irish novelists. Upon the comple- 
tion and announcement of his latest trio of books, the now 
notorious "Hail and Farewell," dealing mainly with events 
and people in and about Dublin, such is the reverence in 



which these good folk hold their great Irishman, so often has 
his naively truthful pen slashed this and that gentleman or 
gentlewoman in the past, that curiosity, dread, anxiety, and 
every other fearsome emotion quickly set fire to the Irish 
capital, and a saying, since made current, followed in its 
wake: "Half the people in Dublin were afraid they were in 
the book; the other half, that they had been left out." In 
compiling this history I am moved toward giving the bon 
mot a reverse twist: "I am doubtless paying attention to 
only half the contemporary lights of the Manhattan Club at 
the same time that I am unwittingly overlooking the other 
half— so I am equally in dread of both." However, I shall 
face the music with a brave heart, conscious of impartiality. 
It is most creditable that so many and such diversified 
natures pursue their various paths so peacefully under the 
same roof, seldom, if ever, coming into collision. It proves 
that discipline, although unseen, has its firm grip on one 
and all, and that the amenities and courtesies of life hold a 
large share in meiintaining pleasant and sociable intercourse 
among so many individuals. However, it is amusing to 
watch the usual variations from the general key. Some are 
jolly under any and all conditions ; others, morose in spite of 
alluring surroundings; some cire diffident and seem scarcely 
able to ask for what they want; others cry out their wants in 
stentorian tones ; some are studious and frequent the library 
daily; others — and their name is legion — virtually never, or 
rarely, come within its portals; some are methodical and 
seldom fail to write out a check in their check-book when 
money is wanted; others take up a blank check from the 
office counter, draw it out or have it drawn out, and then 
trust to luck or memory to enter it in their own account- 
book. The world is thus made more varied by each indi- 
vidual who comes and goes. On a smaller scale, but in more 
concentrated form, the general rule applies to the Manhat- 
tcin Club. 



The governors of the Club are : Harry S. Black, Philip J. 
Britt, Lewis J. Conlan, Charles W. Dayton, Victor J. Dow- 
ling, Ashbel P. Fitch, Phoenix Ingraham, Frederic Ker- 
nochan, John Lynn, William F. McCombs, James A. O' Gor- 
man, Herbert C. Smyth, Albert Tilt, H. K. S. Williams, 
William Schramm, and Herbert D. Lounsbury. 

John Lynn has been a life member since 1892. He is espe- 
cially noted for a fine munificence, it being claimed by some 
that he is the most generous human alive. William F. Mc- 
Combs, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, 
needs no trumpeter to herald him. He managed the cam- 
paign which resulted in the election of President Wilson, 
and in 1 91 3 was tendered the ambassadorship to France, an 
honor he declined. Judge Lewis J. Conlan is the first to 
come and the last to leave the club-house. He has conse- 
quently been charged with being the ex-officio caretaker. 
The Judge has been a member for twenty years. 

Phoenix Ingraham deserves very high credit for his 
exemplary work as chairman of the House Committee. A 
more efficient body of men in like capacity does not exist 
anywhere. Mr. Ingraham is a life member. Reference to 
Mr. Ingraham's father. Judge George L. Ingraham, is im- 
perative. Judge Ingraham has been a member of the Club 
since 1883, and head of the Appellate Division of the Su- 
preme Court since 1896. 

Louis Bertschmann, who died recently, was an invaluable 
asset to the Club. He, more than any one man, was respon- 
sible for the greatest influx of new members. 

Senator James A. O'Gorman, member since 1900, ex-jus- 
tice of the Supreme Court, and senator from New York since 
191 1, is one of the Club's most vital figures. Governmental 
duties never prevent him from giving the Manhattan the 
best service at his disposal. 

President Philip J. Britt, elected to his present office in 
April, 19 14, is, needless to say, worthy of the honor con- 



ferred upon him. Much of the success of the recent anni- 
versary dinner is due to him, and, in general, the spirit of 
progressiveness which permeates the activities of the Club. 
Among the ex-presidents there are three living : Morgan J. 
O'Brien, Alton B. Parker, and Victor J. Dowling. 

Judge O'Brien, a member since 1887, and president from 
1908 to 1 910, wholly merits the popularity he enjoys. He is 
one of the most genial of mortals, and at the same time a 
gentleman who, in spite of a certain reserve, commands the 
respect and service of individuals in every walk of life. He 
has always been tireless in his activities and self-imposed 
duties in behalf of the Club, and stands foremost among 
the influential and beneficent factors in Manhattan evolu- 
tion. Eminent as a jurist, he is everybody's friend. 

Alton B. Parker, member since 1894 and president from 
i9iotoi9ii, has been judge at various times of the Supreme 
Court and the Appellate Division and chief justice of the 
Court of Appeals, from which post he resigned to accept the 
Democratic nomination for the Presidency in 1904. He has 
contributed no little toward making the Manhattan Club 
what it is to-day. 

Victor J. Dowling, deservedly one of the most popular of 
Manhattanites, president of the Club from i9iitoi9i4, was 
instrumental in the purchase of the present building on 
Twenty-sixth Street. He is at the present time President of 
the Modern Historic Records Association. 

Distinguished credit is due the Manhattan Club for the 
signal honor of having on its roster three such exceptional 
diplomats, patriots, and clubmen as James W. Gerard, am- 
bassador to Germany, who has so tactfully handled the 
delicate questions that have been brought up periodically 
between Washington and the Wilhelmstrasse; Frederic C. 
Penfield, ambassador to Austria-Hungary ; and Francis Bur- 
ton Harrison, governor-general of the Philippines. 

More than a word of praise should be laid to the account 



of the body of men who did such yeoman service toward 
making the anniversary banquet and celebration the phenom- 
enal success and famous event time has recorded it. The 
motive power which lay at the heart of their endeavors and 
which made those endeavors reach such envied success was 
unselfishness and a courageous willingness to serve. I refer 
to the gentlemen who composed the Anniversciry Committee. 
Their names follow: Morgan J. O'Brien, chairman; Victor J. 
Dowling, George F. Harriman, William R. Hearst, George 
L. Ingraham, Alexander Konta, Martin W. Littleton, Man- 
ton Marble, William F. McCombs, James A. O' Gorman, 
Alton B. Parker, William F. Sheehan, John B. Stanchfield, 
and Thomas F. Vietor. 

Patrick Francis Murphy, generally considered the best 
after-dinner speaker in this country, was one of the men who 
delivered addresses at the recent banquet. 

Among the prominent members of the Club are the New 
York State Democratic chairman, William Church Osborn; 
D-Cady Herrick, ex-district attorney of the State, justice of 
the Supreme Court and the Appellate Division, and one-time 
Democratic candidate for governor; and that able, learned, 
and accomplished international jurist, John R. Dos Passos. 

From the newspaper world there are four giants: Frank 
I. Cobb, editor-in-chief of the New York "World"; Caleb 
Van Hamm, managing editor of all the Hearst interests; 
Edward G. Riggs, one of the vital sparks of the old Dana 
regime on the New York "Sun"; and Louis Seibold, of 
the "World," who enjoys the confidence of practically all 
prominent public men. 

John Quinn, lawyer and art collector, is a unique figure in 
the Club. He was instrumental in the success of the now 
famous "Irish Players." A daily visitor is Frederick B. 
Tilghman, descendant from an old and honorable line, and 
prominent on the Stock Exchange. Ex-Lieutenant-Gov- 
ernor William F. Sheehan is always in demand, such is his 



tTa s and 



Patrick Francis best 

peakc 5 who 

., _. /ames A. O' Gorman 

,-j on t 
the **Wc^ tfte cc 

a oid auid oie line, and 

IwJ^l J<I.^lt-\i-f«.< 


popularity. Another favorite is the widely known lawyer, 
Solomon Hanford. George F. Harriman, another lawyer 
and old member, is a friend of everybody. 

The brilliant Edgar Saltus is an old member of the Club, 
and makes it his home when his literary occupations and 
errant fancies detain him in this country. 

Special privileges are allowed to Sylvester J. E. Rawling. 
As music critic of the "World," it is necessary that he com- 
pose his opera criticism late at night, and the Club is kept 
open for that purpose ! 

Other famous lawyer members and frequenters of the 
Club are John B. Stanchfield and George Gordon Battle. 
Mr. Stanchfield was formerly Democratic candidate for 
governor and nominee for United States senator. Mr. Bat- 
tle at one time served as assistant district attorney, and is at 
present a law partner of Senator O'Gorman. 

Daniel M. Brady is the election expert of the Club. It is 
popularly said of him that he can prophesy the outcome of 
any election, such is his broad familiarity with statistics. At 
the head of the Art Department stands August Benziger. 
He has painted portraits of Presidents McKinley, Roosevelt, 
and Taft, one of Senator O'Gorman, and, specially for the 
Club, one of Judge Dowling. 

Herbert D. Lounsbury, a gentleman of brilliant wit, and 
Congressman Jacob A. Cantor, ex-president of the New 
York Senate and ex-president of Manhattan Borough, are 
favorites with all. 

J. Henry Haggerty is much sought after because of his 
genial ways. So are Herbert Sm3^h, who stands in the front 
rank of trial lawyers, and Justice Charles L. Guy. Justice 
Guy was elected Supreme Court justice in 1907 for a term of 
fourteen years. General favorites, also, are those two gen- 
tlemen, Harry Mollenhauer and Conrad Peters, popularly 
known as "Harry" and "Connie." 

James Buckley, general passenger agent of the Erie lines, 



one of the ablest and best-known veterans of the American 
railway service, is a frequenter of the Club, as well as Gen- 
eral James B. Burbank, who entered voluntary service in 
1862 as lieutenant and adjutant, and the regular army in 
1864. He was retired a major-general in 1902. For fifty- 
three years he served on the active list in all grades, a gal- 
lant, accomplished, and meritorious officer. Roger Foster, 
lawyer and author of "Foster's Federal Practice," and for- 
merly instructor at Yale University, is famous for his splen- 
did service in the improvement of the tenement-house. 
Another popular habitue is Dr. C. J. McGuire, the well- 
known physician. 

An old-time and most popular member of the Club is ex- 
Senator Watson Carvosso Squire. His public record is a 
long and brilliant one. He served in the Civil War as a 
beau sabreur and judge-advocate-general, commanded the 
troop of sharpshooters who constituted General Sherman's 
body-guard, and was raised to the rank of colonel "for 
gallant and meritorious services." He was Governor of 
Washington Territory, 1884-87, and senator in Congress 
from the State of Washington, 1887-97. 

Among the prominent judges are Eugene A. Philbin, 
Nathan L. Miller, Frank C. Laughlin, Chester B. McLaugh- 
lin, Edward J. Gavegan, P. Henry Dugro, Francis B. 
Delehanty, and John V. McAvoy. 

Judge Philbin, in addition to his service on the Supreme 
Court bench, is noted for his work in connection with Ellis 
Island. In addition to his position as Supreme Court and 
Appellate Division justice. Judge Miller has been State 
comptroller. Judge Laughlin has been justice of the Su- 
preme Court since 1895, and of the Appellate Division since 
1899. Judge McLaughlin has likewise been justice of the 
Supreme Court and the Appellate Division for many years. 
Judge Gavegan was elected Supreme Court justice in 1910, 
to serve till 1923. Judge Dugro, besides his activities as Su- 



preme Court justice, built the Hotels Savoy and Seville and 
organized the Union Square Bank. 

Inside the Manhattan Club there are other clubs — circles 
within circles. Foremost among them is the "Modocs." One 
of its most prominent members, Herbert D. Lounsbury, has 
this to say in reference to its name and history: 

"Modoc" is of Indian derivation, and was the name of the 
tribe inhabiting the southwestern portion of what is now the 
State of Oregon. It was slightly over forty years ago that 
this Indian tribe gained newspaper notoriety through its 
resistance to the authority of the United States Government. 

"Attracted to the name by seeing it so frequently printed 
in the newspapers of that period, it was adopted as the name 
of a little coterie of men who delighted in each other's com- 
panionship and who wished to meet regularly for dining and 
general sociability. 

"Thus, what has become unique in clubdom — the Modocs 
— was founded by Charles Duggin, Esq., a well-known 
builder of the early seventies, and for many years an 
esteemed member of the Manhattan Club. 

"At first the symposiums of the Modocs were held in the 
ofEce of Mr. Duggin, but the Manhattan Club was later se- 
lected, and for over thirty-five years this little club within 
the Club has met with remarkable regularity and with a 
membership varying little in number from the original body. 

"Nothing is so unchangeable as change, and the span of 
forty years leaves but few of the original 'tribe* living, but 
that limited number includes Mr. Duggin, its founder; Hon. 
Henry A. Gildersleeve, the distinguished jurist; and Allan 
R. Blount — three names which can never be disassociated 
from the Modocs. 

"During these forty years men famous in politics and in 
nearly all the professions and vocations have been received 
in the councils of the tribe. That the Modocs still flourishes 



is because of its moderation in all things sociable, an inde- 
structible foundation, and this it is which should insure a 
continuance of its robust existence. 

"Its present membership consists of the following gentle- 

Hon. Henry A. Gildersleeve 

Mr. O. R. Cauchois 
Mr. Allan R. Blount 
Mr. Herbert D. Lounsbury 
Mr. Edgar L. Newhouse 
Mr. T. Reid Fell 
Mr. J. Stevens Ulman 
Mr. John H. O'Brien 
Mr. Elting F. Warner 
Mr. A. J. Johnson 
Mr. Clarence S. Herter 
Mr. Cornelius S. Pinkney 
Mr. Frederick H. Levey 
Mr. Wilbur L. Ball 
Mr. Walter S. Roberts 

"Lives of great men all remind us 

We are of a different kind — 
And departing leave behind us 
Tracks an Indian could n't find." 

Another club, which has been existing all these years 
without a name, is one of which Joseph S. Ulman, familiarly 
known on the Stock Exchange and in the Club as "Josephus," 
is manager, so to speak. 

The "Boarding-house Table" originated with the late Syl- 
vester J. O'SuUivan, and the "boarders," as they were called, 
embraced the following persons : 

Harry Keene 
Hon. John G. Carlisle 


Charles L. Brodt 
Philip J. Britt 
James A. Deering 
Dr. J. B. Irwin 
Frederick B. Tilghman 
James Buckley 

Since the organization of the table, five of its "boarders" 
have died, and the following are the surviving members : 

Philip J. Britt 
Frederick B. Tilghman 
James Buckley 

The "honorary boarders," as they were called, were Judge 
D-Cady Herrick, Justices Dayton and Truax, and the com- 
piler of this history. 

The table was always set for ten persons, and scarcely an 
evening passed but that every seat was taken. During its 
existence the "Boarding-house Table" entertained many 
prominent persons from outside of the City and State. 

The table was famous for the specialties which were 
served, and employed persons who furnished game of va- 
rious kinds during the season, as well as fish from several 
private preserves. Its favorite beverage was buttermilk. 

It was noted during the summer season for the celebrated 
vegetable dinners which were served, consisting of every 
known vegetable grown at the time. 

The members and guests indulged in discussion of various 
subjects, political, professional, and financial. 

The table is still in existence and occupies the position 
where it was originally placed. 

The popular games played at the Manhattan Club are bil- 
liards and dominoes. Each year a domino tournament is 
held, and the winner is emblazoned champion. The pres- 



ent title-holder is the popular contractor, Edward J. Kelly. 
Such was the joy of his friends by reason of his achievement 
that an ambrosial dinner was tendered in his honor. 

In the early part of 1913 there was an exodus of silk-im- 
porting firms from their down-town locations to quarters on 
Fourth Avenue, close to the club-house. They form the 
backbone of one of the strongest business enterprises of this 
country, and the admission of their members into the Club 
has proved a source of mutual satisfaction. They are all 
men of keen business instincts, and are alive to the exigen- 
cies of the day. Although they differ from the old-style t5^e 
of clubman, this has not caused friction of any sort; on the 
contrary, the two elements have merged agreeably, the 
result justifying the wisdom of the Board of Managers in 
admitting them. These new members have injected into the 
life of the Club an amount of vim, quick movement, and dash 
which probably is not to be found in any other similarly 
conditioned organization in the city. Considerateness, 
generosity, and good feeling radiate from all, and the Club 
is proud of having them on its roster. Among their names 
are the Gerli Brothers (Paulino, Paul B., E., and Joseph), 
and William G. Chave and William Schramm. 

Men who have been members for thirty years or more are 
numerous. Among them are: Edward R. Bacon (1881), 
Perry Belmont (1875), John C. Calhoun (1884), Ferdinand 
E. Canda (1883), Charles H. De Witt (1882), Robert E. 
Deyo (1885), Francis A. Dugro (1884), P. Henry Dugro 
(1882), Roger Foster (1885), John J. Freedman (1874), J. A. 
Geissenhainer (1886), Henry A. Gilder sleeve (1881), Lo- 
renzo M. Gillet (1883), George L. Ingraham (1883), Laflin 
L. Kellogg (1878), Abraham R. Lawrence (1865), S. M. 
Lehman (1883), Jefferson M. Levy (1878), Mitchell A. C. 
Levy (1885), Napoleon L. Levy (1881), Julius J. Lyons 
(1869), Charles F. MacLean (1876), Manton Marble (1865), 
John C. Maximos (1871), Theodore W. Myers (1885), De 


cnt t 

of cl 

conti - 

result jv r the 


William JF. McCombs 



LanceyNicoll (1885), Frank K.Pendleton (1877), W. McM. 
Speer(i886), P. Tillinghast (1882), Edgar A. Turrell(i877), 
George W. Van Slyck (1871), and C. B. Webster (1885). 

Among the non-resident members of similar standing are : 
E. M. Angel (1883), W. E. Baillie (1881), David Barclay 
(1883), A. W. Black (1883), C. W. Bonynge (1880), John H. 
Bradford (1883), Samuel H. Buck (1883), Harry G. Cheney 
(1885), W. A. Clark (1885), Dubois Collier (1886), Alexan- 
der B. Coxe (1883), Davidson Dalziel (1885), Edmund W. 
Davis (1883), Henry G. Davis (1882), Thomas E. Davis 
(1878), J. Swan Frick (1883), Edward I. Frost (1886), 
Charles B. Greeley (1884), William G. Hibbard (1878), 
James J. Hill (1885), N. K. Honore (1884), Walter Stilson 
Hutchins (1880), C. H. Hyams (1881), Frank J. Lewis 
(1880), T. M. Logan (1886), Gardner F. McCandless (1883), 
W. G. McCormick (1882), W. J. McKinnie (1883), Constan- 
tine Menelas (1874), M. H. Murphy (1885), A. G. Ober 
(1880), R. W. Parsons (1881), H. C. Pierce (1885), J- A. P. 
Ramsdell (1875), Clarence Rathbone (1875), William G. 
Rice (1883), E. G. Richmond (1882), Edgar Saltus (1881), 
Alfred Slidell (1870), Henry E. Smith (1883), W. C. Squire 
(1883), W. E. Tillotson (1882), Peter D. Vroom (1886), 
Piers Eliot Warburton (1883), Walter P. Warren (1882), 
Henry Watterson (1882), Smith M. Weed (1868), W. 
Boerum Wetmore (1886), and Wm. H. Wheeler (1881). 

From the above record might be drawn the axiom, "Be- 
long to the Manhattan Club and live long !" 

At present there are twenty-one employees of the Manhat- 
tan Club with a record of one year and over, those of longest 
service being Minnie Roselli, waitress for twenty-eight 
years ; Joseph Tomblin, oysterman for twenty-seven years ; 
Robert Strong, valet, twenty-six years; Alfred Comyns, 
head waiter, twenty-four years; and George Buschke, house- 
man, twenty-one years. 

There are nine employees who have been with the Club 



between six and nine years, and seven for four — splendid 
witnesses to the success of masculine housekeeping. 

Dan Kinder is the waiter of the two inside clubs. He 
knows the order of each member without asking him his 
wants. The same eulogy, in the realm of nectars, may be 
pressed on J. N. Taylor, head bartender of the Club for many 
years. The record is complete with a reference to the popu- 
lar head hallman, William Lavery, for fifteen years in his 
present employment. 


The Anniversary Banquet— A Memorable and Brilliant Affair— Presi- 
dent Britt presides and President Wilson outlines an Administrative 
Programme— Speeches by Judge O'Brien, Mr. Patrick Francis Mur- 
phy, and Mr. Frank Lawrence. 

PPOINTED by President Philip J. Britt to 
weigh and discuss all plans and matters in 
connection with the Fiftieth Anniversary, 
the Anniversary Committee decided : 

First, to publish a history of the Manhat- 
tan, which, after all of the foremost Ameri- 
can printing-houses had been considered, 
was contracted to be issued by The De Vinne Press. 

Second, and at President Britt's proposal, to erect a bronze 
tablet in the club-house to bear the following inscription: 

Of a half century of the continuance of the Manhattan 
Club of New York, and more especially of the unswerv- 
ing dedication of its service to the immortal principles 
of Democracy as conceived by our Forefathers and car- 
ried on to us by the Founders of this Club ; 

And in reverent thanksgiving for fifty years of our for- 
tune, progress, and invaluable fellowship, we, the loyal 



members of the Manhattan Club of New York, have this 
day, the . . . day of October, in the year of our Lord 
nineteen hundred and fifteen, erected this tablet to the 
undying honor of the distinguished and devoted citi- 
zens whom our Club has given to the City and State of 
New York and to our beloved Nation. 

Third, to hold a banquet in celebration of the Fiftieth An- 

Every means was invoked by the Committee, after the 
successful carrying out of the first two clauses, to bring the 
third to a happy consummation. But many difficulties inter- 
posed, chief of them the circumstance that the dining-hall of 
the Club was inadequate to accommodate all the members 
who requested seats. Rather than disappoint a single mem- 
ber, rather than decide against what in all justice meant the 
rights democratically and fraternally of one and all alike, the 
Committee, against its original will and sentiment, voted to 
hold the anniversary banquet elsewhere, and, after a careful 
study of the many and varied hostelries of the city, the Bilt- 
more Hotel was selected. The choice of this hotel proved 
the wisest possible. 

In the meanwhile, President Wilson had been invited to 
attend the dinner and to deliver an address. The date of the 
celebration was left to the discretion and convenience of our 
Chief Executive. The President graciously accepted the 
invitation, designated the evening of November 4, the date 
finally announced by the Committee, as the one most con- 
venient to him, and, in view of the fact that he had delivered 
no public speeches on the subject, selected the long awaited 
and universally debated topic of National Defense as the 
theme for his discourse on the occasion. 

November 4 was made all the more momentous and 
worthy of record by the splendid and enthusiastically ad- 
mired address of the President. Such was the broad and 



patriotic character of the speech, such was its dramatic sig- 
nificance, its epoch-making power, its sweeping judgment 
reaching down as an inspiration into the annals of future 
American generations, that it is imperative to rehearse, in 
its proper place, the story in its entirety. 

Because of the greater accommodations afforded by the 
Biltmore Hotel, it was deemed advisable by the committee 
to extend invitations to the friends of guests and to prom- 
inent Democrats from all over the country. The response 
was immediate. When the great hall of the Biltmore finally 
seated the last comer, the sight was one to thrill the most 
jaded old-timer. Surrounded by American flags placed at 
each table, under the brilliant electric legend, "1865 to 1915/' 
Democrats of every shade of Democracy sat and chatted and 
hobnobbed and passed along the word of good cheer and 
mutual good will. Republicans and Progressives mingled. 
The menu was pronounced by the most hardened habitues 
of dinners to be the "finest ever." Quite the most critical 
expectation of the strongest skeptic would have been satis- 
fied. And the key-note of the whole evening, banquet, 
speeches, table-talk, repartee, and all, the spirit that played 
undercurrent to the general march of events, was the all- 
pervading motive of patriotism. Even political partisanship 
was forgotten, generously merged as it was in the greater 

Before the dinner. President Wilson, true to the highest 
and noblest precepts of Jeff ersonian democracy, good-fellow- 
ship, and courtesy, mingled with all, shook hands with alL 
Those who had never met him were introduced and genially 
welcomed by him. 

Among the invited guests who helped to make the occa- 
sion one of the most memorable in the history of clubs the 
world over were: Mayor Mitchel of New York; Secretary of 
War Lindley M. Garrison ; Frank R. Lawrence, president of 
the Lotos Club; Rev. W. T. Manning, rector of Trinity 



Church, who delivered a beautifully appropriate prayer ; and 
Joseph P. Tumulty, secretary to the President, all of whom 
sat at the President's table along with the President of the 
Club, and William F. McCombs, Victor J. Dowling, Morgan 
J. O'Brien, and James A. O' Gorman, Club members. 

President Philip J. Britt was the toastmaster of the occa- 
sion, and a more capable official could not have been found 
anywhere. Mr. Britt delivered the opening address, a splen- 
did speech full of allusions that warmed the hearts of the 
oldest as well as the newest Manhattanites. The trend of 
each phrase was absolutely in keeping with the lofty aims of 
the Anniversary. 

When, after referring to the many gatherings of the Man- 
hattan Club which had become historic, Mr. Britt said, in 
concluding his address — 

"But it was not until to-night that it achieved its greatest 
distinction in having its only living honorary member, the 
scholar, historian, and patriot President of the United States, 
select this celebration as the forum whence to address his 
fellow-countrymen upon what are probably the most impor- 
tant and vital questions which have presented themselves to 
the people of this Nation since the beginning of the Repub- 
lic. [Continued applause.] Mr. President, I can assure 
you, sir, of the heartfelt appreciation of the members and 
guests of the Manhattan Club of your presence with us to- 
night. It has shed additional splendor and glory on this 
celebration. And we, the members of the Manhattan Club, 
rejoicing in the goodly heritage of fifty years, — may we not, 
as we look ahead into the dim and uncertain mazes of the 
future, mindful of the zeal and patriotism of its founders, 
mindful of its great traditions and achievements, venture the 
hope that it will live long and prosper, and that it will con- 
tinue to be a power for conservative thought and action 
throughout the Nation, until our country, to which it has 


Clab, anr! 

i: O'.P 


hattan C.i 


rine to the jn- 

James W^atson Gerard 

nights 1 

1 Its ^ 

r. the 



given so many illustrious sons, shall be no more? [Con- 
tinued applause. ] Gentlemen, I give you the health of the 
President of the United States." 

— the banquet-hall presented a never to be forgotten scene; 
every person rose to his feet and joined in the singing of 
"The Star Spangled Banner," which was followed for some 
minutes by continuous applause and waving of American 

Other speakers were ex-President Morgan J. 0*Brien, 
Patrick Francis Murphy, the nonpareil of after-dinner 
speakers, and President Lawrence of the Lotos Club. Judge 
O'Brien, than whom no more appropriate individual for the 
part assigned to him could have been designated, recounted 
the glories and memories of Manhattan Club history. Pat- 
rick Francis Murphy was in his finest fettle, and when that is 
said no further tribute can be added. In speaking of Presi- 
dent Wilson, he remarked wittily and appropriately : "A man 
may be too proud to fight, and yet find himself in a serious 
engagement." President Lawrence spoke in behalf of the 
sister clubs of New York. 

Wave after wave of applause greeted President Wilson 
after Mr. Britt had said, in presenting him to the company, 
that history would accord him a place by the side of Wash- 
ington and Lincoln, and "that this coimtry is not now 
plunged into that inferno of bloodshed that is devastating 
Europe is attributable to the cool head, great mind, and 
patriotic heart of Woodrow Wilson." 

Time and time again, outbursts of enthusiasm and hearty 
cheering accentuated leading points in the President's speech 
and interrupted its even flow. Mr. Wilson spoke with char- 
acteristic dignity and quietude of accent and demeanor. 
Immediately upon the conclusion of the now famous address, 
accoimts of it and the details of the great Anniversary Cele- 
bration were sent to all parts of America and Europe, large 



space being devoted to the occasion by virtually all the great 
newspapers of the world. 
President Wilson's speech was as follows : 

" Mr. Toastmaster and Gentlemen : 

"I warmly felicitate the Club upon the completion of fifty 
years of successful and interesting life. Club life may be 
made to mean a great deal to those who know how to use it. 
I have no doubt that to a great many of you has come genu- 
ine stimulation in the associations of this place, and that as 
the years have multiplied you have seen more and more the 
useful ends which may be served by organizations of this sort. 

"But I have not come to speak wholly of that, for there are 
others of your own members who can speak of the Club with 
a knowledge and an intelligence which no one can have who 
has not been intimately associated with it. Men band them- 
selves together for the sake of the association, no doubt, but 
also for something greater and deeper than that — because 
they are conscious of common interests lying outside their 
business occupations, because they are members of the same 
community, and in frequent intercourse find mutual stimula- 
tion and a real maximum of vitality and power. 

"I shall assume that here around the dinner-table on this 
memorial occasion our talk should properly turn to the wide 
and common interests which are most in our thoughts, 
whether they be the interests of the community or of the 

"A year and a half ago our thought would have been al- 
most altogether of great domestic questions. They are many 
and of vital consequence. We must and shall address our- 
selves to their solution with diligence, firmness, and self-pos- 
session, notwithstanding we find ourselves in the midst of a 
world disturbed by great disaster and ablaze with terrible 
war; but our thought is now inevitably of new things about 
which formerly we gave ourselves little concern. 



"We are thinking now chiefly of our relations with the rest 
of the world — not our commercial relations — about those we 
have thought and planned always — but about our political 
relations, our duties as an individual and independent force 
in the world to ourselves, our neighbors, and the world itself. 


"Our principles are well known. It is not necessary to 
avow them again. We believe in political liberty and 
founded our great Government to obtain it, the liberty of 
men and of peoples — of men to choose their own lives and of 
peoples to choose their own allegiance. 

"Our ambition, also, all the world has knowledge of. It is 
not only to be free and prosperous ourselves, but also to be 
the friend and thoughtful partisan of those who are free or 
who desire freedom the world over. If we have had aggres- 
sive purposes and covetous ambitions, they were the fruit of 
our thoughtless youth as a Nation, and we have put them 

"We shall, I confidently believe, never again take another 
foot of territory by conquest. We shall never in any circum- 
stances seek to make an independent people subject to our 
dominion; because we believe, we passionately believe, in the 
right of every people to choose their own allegiance and be 
free of masters altogether. 

"For ourselves, we wish nothing but the full liberty of 
self -development ; and with ourselves in this great matter we 
associate all the peoples of our own hemisphere. We wish 
not only for the United States, but for them the fullest free- 
dom of independent growth and of action, for we know that 
throughout this hemisphere the same aspirations are every- 
where being worked out, under diverse conditions, but with 
the same impulse and ultimate object. 

"All this is very clear to us and will, I confideritly predict, 
become more and more clear to the whole world as the great 



processes of the future unfold themselves. It is with a full 
consciousness of such principles and such ambitions that we 
are asking ourselves at the present time what our duty is 
with regard to the armed force of the Nation. 

"Within a year we have witnessed what we did not believe 
possible — a great European conflict involving many of the 
greatest nations of the world. The influences of a great war 
are ever5rwhere in the air. All Europe is embattled. Force 
everywhere speaks out with a loud and imperious voice in a 
titanic struggle of governments, and from one end of our 
own dear country to the other men are asking one another 
what our own force is, how far we are prepared to maintain 
ourselves against any interference with our national action 
or development. 


"In no man's mind, I am sure, is there even raised the ques- 
tion of the wilful use of force on our part against any nation 
or any people. No matter what military or naval force the 
United States might develop, statesmen throughout the 
whole world might rest assured that we were gathering that 
force, not for attack in any quarter, not for aggression of any 
kind, not for the satisfaction of any political or internationsJ 
ambition, but merely to make sure of our own security. We 
have it in mind to be prepared, but not for war, only for 
defense; and with the thought constantly in our minds that 
the principles we hold most dear can be achieved by the slow 
processes of history only in the kindly and wholesome atmo- 
sphere of peace, and not by the use of hostile force. The 
mission of America in the world is essentially a mission of 
peace and good will among men. She has become the home 
and asylum of men of all creeds and races. Within her hos- 
pitable borders they have found homes and congenial asso- 
ciations and freedom and a wide and cordial welcome, and 
they have become part of the bone and sinew and spirit of 



America itself. America has been made up out of the na- 
tions of the world and is the friend of the nations of the 

"But we feel justified in preparing ourselves to vindicate 
our right to independent and unmolested action by making 
the force that is in us ready for assertion. 

"And we know that we can do this in a way that will be 
itself an illustration of the American spirit. In accordance 
with our American traditions we want and shall work for 
only an army adequate to the constant and legitimate uses 
of times of international peace. But we do want to feel that 
there is a great body of citizens who have received at least 
the most rudimentary and necessary forms of military train- 
ing; that they will be ready to form themselves into a fight- 
ing force at the call of the Nation; and that the Nation has 
the munitions and supplies with which to equip them without 
delay, should it be necessary to call them into action. 

"We wish to supply them with the training they need, and 
we think we can do so without calling them at any time too 
long away from their civilian pursuits. 

"It is with this idea, with this conception, in mind that the 
plans have been made which it will be my privilege to lay 
before the Congress at its next session. That plan calls for 
only such an increase in the regular army of the United 
States as experience has proved to be required for the per- 
formance of the necessary duties of the army in the Philip- 
pines, in Hawaii, in Porto Rico, upon the borders of the 
United States, at the coast fortifications, and at the military 
posts of the interior. 

"For the rest, it calls for the training within the next three 
years of a force of 400,000 citizen soldiers to be raised in an- 
nual contingents of 133,000, who would be asked to enlist for 
three years with the colors and three years on furlough, but 
who during their three years of enlistment with the colors 
would not be organized as a standing force, but would be ex- 



pected merely to undergo intensive training for a very brief 
period of each year. 

"Their training would take place in immediate association 
with the organized units of the regular army. It would have 
no touch of the amateur about it, neither would it exact of 
the volunteers more than they could give in any one year 
from their civilian pursuits. 

"And none of this would be done in such a way as in the 
slightest degree to supersede or subordinate our present ser- 
viceable and efficient National Guard. On the contrary, the 
National Guard itself would be used as part of the instru- 
mentality by which training would be given the citizens who 
enlisted under the new conditions, and I should hope and 
expect that the legislation by which all this would be accom- 
plished would put the National Guard itself upon a better 
and more permanent footing than it has ever been before, 
giving it not only the recognition which it deserves, but a 
more definite support from the National Government and a 
more definite connection with the military organization of 
the Nation. 

"What we all wish to accomplish is that the forces of the 
Nation should indeed be part of the Nation and not a sepa- 
rate professional force, and the chief cost of the system 
would not be in the enlistment or in the training of the men, 
but in the providing of ample equipment in case it should be 
necessary to call all forces into the field. 


"Moreover, it has been American policy time out of mind 
to look to the navy as the first and chief line of defense. The 
navy of the United States is already a very great and efficient 
force. Not rapidly, but slowly, with careful attention, our 
naval force has been developed until the navy of the United 
States stands recognized as one of the most efficient and 
notable of the modern time. All that is needed in order to 


pccter  •v-.:^' ...iisivc ' ' T a very i>ricl 



no tc amatt lact of 

the V ' b.aa ixi ill au^- oue ^^«»r 


"^^f^ as ■»«* rhf? 

-Ji w : 

men* , trai?ii 

er onder the tjev 

expect that the leg *>e accom- 

plish^ j^rancis Burton Harrisoit^^^ ^^^ « 

ar^- i.s ever been bc:v..: • ; 

g; h it dc?;erTes. but a 

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neeet.: — 


Moreover, it has been American policy • 
tc ~ • ' ' --tvy as the &nt and cMef line ^.^ ■■i^im*^'- 

:zd Slates is alreaf'^v s "-erv prf^A? m^^ r  
Jt slowly, 

:velc^)ed until the navy ot tne Umted 

jcogaizcd as one of the most ejQIdent an^ 

jiw^ dern time. AH that is needed mmd& to 




bring it to a point of extraordinary force and efficiency as 
compared with the other navies of the world is that we 
shoiild hasten our pace in the policy we have long been pur- 
suing, and that chief of all we should have a definite policy of 
development, not made from year to year, but looking well 
into the future and planning for a definite consummation. 

"We can and should profit in all that we do by the experi- 
ence and example that have been made obvious to us by the 
military and naval events of the actual present. It is not 
merely a matter of building battle-ships and cruisers and 
submarines, but also a matter of making sure that we shall 
have the adequate equipment of men and munitions and sup- 
plies for the vessels we build and intend to build. 

"Part of our problem is the problem of what I may call the 
mobilization of the resources of the Nation at the proper 
time, if it should ever be necessary to mobilize them for na- 
tional defense. We shall study efficiency and adequate 
equipment as carefully as we shall study the number and size 
of our ships, and I believe that the plans already in part made 
public by the Navy Depairtment are plans which the whole 
Nation can approve with rational enthusiasm. 

"No thoughtful man feels any panic haste in this matter. 
The country is not threatened from any quarter. She stands 
in friendly relations with all the world. Her resources are 
known, and her self-respect and her capacity to care for her 
own citizens and her own rights. There is no fear among us. 
Under the new world conditions we have become thoughtful 
of the things which all reasonable men consider necessary 
for security and self-defense on the part of every nation con- 
fronted with the great enterprise of human liberty and inde- 
pendence. That is all. 


"Is the plan we propose sane and reasonable and suited to 
the needs of the hour? Does it not conform to the ancient 



traditions of America? Has any better plan been proposed 
than this programme that we now place before the country? 
In it there is no pride of opinion. It represents the best pro- 
fessional and expert judgment of the country. 

"But I am not so much interested in programmes as I am 
in safeguarding at every cost the good faith and honor of the 
country. If men differ with me in this vital matter, I shall 
ask them to make it clear how far and in what way they are 
interested in making the permanent interests of the country 
safe against disturbance. 

"In the fulfilment of the programme I propose I shall ask 
for the hearty support of the country, of the rank and file of 
America, of men of all shades of political opinion. For my 
position in this important matter is different from that of the 
private individual who is free to speak his own thoughts and 
to risk his own opinions in this matter. 

"We are here dealing with things that are vital to the life 
of America itself. In doing this I have tried to purge my 
heart of all personal and selfish motives. For the time being 
I speak as the trustee and guardian of a Nation's rights, 
charged with the duty of speaking for that Nation in matters 
involving her sovereignty — a Nation too big and generous to 
be exacting, and yet courageous enough to defend its rights 
and the liberties of its people wherever assailed or invaded. 

"I would not feel that I was discharging the solemn obliga- 
tion I owe the country were I not to speak in terms of the 
deepest solemnity of the urgency and necessity of preparing 
ourselves to guard and protect the rights and privileges of 
our people, our sacred heritage of the fathers who struggled 
to make us an independent Nation. 

"The only thing within our own borders that has given us 
grave concern in recent months has been that voices have 
been raised in America professing to be the voices of Ameri- 
cans which were not indeed and in truth American, but 
which spoke alien sympathies, which came from men who 



loved other countries better than they loved America, men 
who were partisans of other causes than that of America and 
had forgotten that their chief and only allegiance was to the 
great Government under which they live. 

"These voices have not been many, but they have been 
very loud and very clamorous. They have proceeded from a 
few who were bitter and who were grievously misled. Amer- 
ica has not opened its doors in vain to men and women out of 
other nations. The vast majority of those who have come to 
take advantage of her hospitality have united their spirit 
with hers as well as their fortunes. These men who speak 
alien sympathies are not their spokesmen, but are the spokes- 
men of small groups whom it is high time that the Nation 
should call to a reckoning. 

"The chief thing necessary in America in order that she 
should let all the world know that she is prepared to main- 
tain her own great position is that the real voice of the 
Nation should sound forth unmistakably and in majestic 
volume in the deep unison of a common, imhesitating na- 
tional feeling. I do not doubt that upon the first occasion, 
upon the first opportunity, upon the first definite challenge, 
that voice will speak forth in tones which no man can doubt, 
and with commands which no man dare gainsay or resist. 

"May I not say, while I am speaking of this, that there is 
another danger that we should guard against? We should 
rebuke not only manifestations of racial feeling here in 
America, where there should be none, but also every mani- 
festation of religious and sectarian antagonism. 

"It does not become America that within her borders, 
where every man is free to follow the dictates of his con- 
science and worship God as he pleases, men should raise the 
cry of church against church. To do that is to strike at the 
very spirit and heart of America. We are God-fearing peo- 
ple. We agree to differ about methods of worship, but we 
are united in believing in Divine Providence and in worship- 



ing the God of Nations. We are the champions of religious 
right here and everywhere that it may be our privilege to 
give it our countenance and support. The Government is 
conscious of the obligation, and the Nation is conscious of 
the obligation. Let no man create divisions where there are 

"Here is the Nation God has builded by our hands. What 
shall we do with it? Who is there who does not stand ready 
at all times to act in her behalf in a spirit of devoted and dis- 
interested patriotism? We are yet only in the youth and 
first consciousness of our power. The day of our country's 
life is still but in its fresh morning. Let us lift our eyes to the 
great tracts of life yet to be conquered in the interests of 
righteous peace. Come, let us renew our sdlegiance to Amer- 
ica, conserve her strength in its purity, make her chief among 
those who serve mankind, self -reverenced, self -commanded, 
mistress of all forces of quiet counsel, strong above all others 
in good will and the might of invincible justice and right." 

The day after the delivery of the President's speech the 
newspapers contained a "statement" from the recent Secre- 
tary of State in which he not only antagonized every position 
and opinion of his former Chief, but assailed his choice of a 
forum. "I hope," said Mr. Bryan, "the President will not be 
deceived by the atmosphere of the Manhattan Club. That is 
the one place in the United States where the mammon-wor- 
shiping portion of the Democratic Party meets to exchange 
compliments; there is no group farther removed from the 
sentiment of the masses, whether you measure that senti- 
ment by economical, social or religious standards." Upon 
reading this, one of the oldest members of the Club, a veteran 
Democrat and by no means a millionaire, sententiously 
observed : "A man who could go into a court of law and con- 
tend with a widow for a share of a small estate upon which 
he had no just claim; who could serve grape-juice to save 



wine-bills ; and who, forgetting alike the duties and dignities 
of his office, whilst complaining of a stipend regarded by all 
his predecessors as sufficient, could discredit the one and 
neglect the other by converting himself into a peripatetic 
showman, is not a fit person to lecture anybody upon the 
mammon of unrighteousness." 

Dinners may come and dinners may go; other great anni- 
versaries will follow ; men, nations and events will take their 
course. But when records pass down into history to be 
perused and contemplated by the sons and grandsons of 
present-day Manhattan members, November 4, 191 5, will be 
not only remembered, but it will be referred to with a certain 
admiration and reverence justly due to the greatest night in 
the history of the Club. And with the radiance of the future 
there will silently join the spirit of the past, represented by 
the loyal men who started the Manhattan Club on its way 
and carried it to its present development, in recognition at 
once of efficient brotherhood and of splendid achievement so 
wholly yet unobtrusively won by those who made the fourth 
of November what it was. 

Henry Watterson 

. *v'- -V^ '>r Ji-^^^Vs-v . v!|i«»*''.i> *^-fc.rf^* 





LTHOUGH something less than fifty years 
ago, it seems a full century since the Editor 
of these records crossed the threshold of 
the old Benkard house and entered the 
Manhattan Club, the guest of one of the 
most eminent and important of its mem- 
bers, the late August Belmont. 
I recall that we were joined at luncheon by Mr. Samuel J. 
Tilden and General Elijah Ward. I had known both of 
them, as, indeed, Mr. Belmont, before the war — that is, the 
War of Sections, which was then but just ended — to most 
thoughtful Americans a horrible nightmare. The Demo- 
cratic Party had reached a low ebb in its fortunes, but 
Democracy was still a password. The four of us were Demo- 
crats. The Club had been organized, if possible, to revitalize 

Curiously enough, our talk was not political, but personal 
and reminiscential. It dealt mainly with Washington 
City and New York, and what had happened the last few 
years, and was passing now, the changes of relation and for- 
tunes the great upheaval had brought about, the queer mar- 
riages and untimely deaths — Mr. Tilden, a bachelor, and 



General Ward, but recently a Benedict, both men of society, 
and interested in fashion; Mr. Belmont, the master of a 
household whose chatelaine, with Mrs. Astor, stood at the 
head of the "Four Hundred" of the period. Mrs. Belmont 
was a Perry, of the celebrated naval family, and the story of 
her marriage to Mr. Belmont was still a familiar and inspir- 
ing romance. He went lame and walked with a cane to the 
end of his days from a bullet wound acquired in a somewhat 
Quixotic duel fought in defense of what he thought his man- 
hood and honor. Though a statesman and a banker of rec- 
ognized standing and high rank, he remained a preux 
chevalier, quick to answer and punish insult, prompt in 
S5mipathy, a generous friend and a dangerous enemy. 

An almost unconscious rivalry arose in time between Mr. 
Belmont and Mr. Tilden. There was a certain intellectual 
likeness between them. Each had a genius for finance, and 
each was a publicist. 

Two softer-hearted human beings in the sentimentalities 
of life were never born into the world. Mr. Belmont attached 
himself to Mr. Bayard. He appeared in two National Con- 
ventions, that of 1876 and that of 1884, at the head of the 
committee urging Mr. Bayard's nomination for the Presi- 
dency. At the outset Mr. Tilden resented this; but in the 
campaign following the convention of 1876, which had nomi- 
nated him and not Mr. Bayard for President, he found no 
reason to complain of Mr. Belmont's whole-hearted and 
bountiful support. 

^ There was not so much as a dream of Governorship and 
Presidential nominations as our little party of four sat and 
gossiped that day about the lunch-table. Nearly ten years 
were to pass before Mr. Tilden "got into the game," that is, 
became a candidate for office and a militant party force, 
being then and through the intervening decade a Democrat 
of character and influence, but as committeeman and coun- 
selor. The successful movement to break the Tweed Ring 



and bring its brigand chief to justic* made him a conspicuous 
figure and a power to be reckoned with. 

He had a fancy for the gubernatorial nomination in 1872, 
when there was no chance of election, and was given the 
nomination in 1874, when it seemed that there was small 
chance, and when in consequence no one else desired it. 

I had first met Mr. Tilden in the National Democratic 
Convention of i860 at Baltimore, where I was serving as a 
newspaper reporter. We went away from the Manhattan 
Club that day arm in arm ; he took me to his house in Gram- 
ercy Park; we passed the afternoon in his noble library, dined 
together, and thenceforward to the day of his death our rela- 
tions were of the most intimate and affectionate. Though a 
modest and somewhat retiring member of the Manhattan 
Club, he was a most earnest and interested member. The 
history of the Club and his history ran on very nearly paral- 
lel lines from those days to the day of his death. As they 
mark the renaissance of the Democratic Party, to which the 
Club was dedicated, it may be neither irrelevant nor uninter- 
esting to relate that particular chapter with some detail. 

o The nomination of Horace Greeley in 1872 and the over- 
whelming defeat which followed left the Democratic Party 
in an abyss of despair. The old Whig Party, after the disas- 
ter which overtook it in 1852, had not been more demoral- 
ized. Yet in the general elections of 1874 the Democrats 
swept the country, carrying many Northern States and 
sending a great majority to the Forty-fourth Congress. 

Reconstruction was breaking down of its very weight and 
rottenness. The panic of 1873 reacted against the party in 
power. Dissatisfaction with Grant, which had not sufficed 
two years before to displace him, was growing apace. 
Favoritism bred corruption, and corruption grew more and 



more defiant. Succeeding scandals cast their shadows be- 
fore. The chickens of carpet-baggery let loose upon the 
South were coming home to roost at the North. There ap- 
peared everywhere a noticeable subsidence of the sectional 
spirit and a rising tide of the national spirit. Reform was 
needed alike in the State governments and in the National 
government, and the cry for reform proved something other 
than an idle word. All things made for Democracy. 

Yet there were multiplied and serious handicaps. The light 
and leading of the historic Democratic Party which had 
issued from the South were in exile; most of those surviving 
who had been distinguished in the party conduct and coun- 
sels were disabled by act of Congress. Of the few prominent 
Democrats left at the North, many were tainted by what was 
called copperheadism. To find a leader wholly free from 
this contamination, Democracy was turning to such disaf- 
fected Republicans as Chase, Field, and Davis of the Su- 
preme Court, having failed of success not only with Grreeley, 
but with McClellan and Se5miour. At last Heaven seemed 
to smile from the clouds upon the disordered ranks and to 
summon thence a man meeting the requirements of the time. 
This was Samuel Jones Tilden. 

To his familiars Mr. Tilden was a dear old bachelor who 
lived in a fine old mansion in Gramercy Park. Though sixty 
years of age, he seemed in the prime of manhood ; a genial 
and overflowing scholar; a trained and earnest doctrinaire; 
a public-spirited, patriotic citizen, well known and highly 
esteemed, who had made fame and fortune at the Bar, but 
had never held important office. He was a dreamer with a 
head for business; a philosopher, yet an organizer. He pur- 
sued the tenor of his life with measured tread. His domestic 
fabric was disfigured by none of the isolation and squalor 
that so often attend the confirmed celibate. His home life 
was a model of order and decorum; his home as unchal- 
lenged as a bishopric, its hospitality, though select, abun- 


^tiadows be^ 

.->».» * i ■< i 



called coppe- 

3 Ncrt 


John T. Agnew 


esteer o had made 

: Of Dl\6XxW'' 

: Hfc f«;\rn-- r*: 


attend the content 

e life 

order and d*; home as u. 



• i -"V**? JtJiT* :.»»*'  


dant and untiring. An elder sister presided at his board, as 
simple, kindly, and unostentatious, but as methodical, as 
himself. He was a lover of rare books, but also of blooded 
cattle, horses and dogs, and out-of-door activities; not much 
of music and art. He was fond of young people, particularly 
of young girls, and drew them about him, and was a veritable 
Sir Roger de Coverley in his gallantries toward them and his 
zeal in amusing them and making them happy. His tastes 
were frugal, and their indulgence sparing. He took his wine 
not plenteously, though he enjoyed it — especially his "blue 
seal" while it lasted — and sipped his whisky-and-water on 
occasion with a pleased composure redolent of discursive 
talk, of which, when he cared to lead the conversation, he 
was a master. He had early come into a great legal practice 
and held a commanding place at the Bar. His law judgments 
were believed to be infallible ; and it is certain that he rarely 
appeared in the courts, settling most of the cases that came 
to him in chambers. 

It was such a man whom in 1874 the Democrats nominated 
for Governor of New York. To say truth, it was not thought 
by those making the nomination that he had much chance to 
win. He was himself so much better advised that months 
ahead he prefigured very nearly the exact vote. The after- 
noon of the day of election I found him in his library, con- 
fident and calm. 

"What majority will you have?" he asked cheerily. 

"Any," I replied, having, of course, the Presidential nomi- 
nation in mind. 

"How about 15,000?" 

"Quite enough." 


"Still better." 

"The majority," he said, "will be a little in excess of 
50,000." It was 53»3i5- His estimate was not guesswork. 
He had organized his campaign by school districts. His 



canvass system was perfect, his canvassers were as pene- 
trating and careful as census-takers. He had before him 
reports from every voting precinct in the State. They were 
corroborated by the official returns. He had defeated Gen- 
eral John A. Dix, thought to be invincible, by a majority 
very nearly the same as that by which Governor Dix had 
been elected two years before. 

There was great rejoicing that night at the Manhattan 
Club. The Club had a right to claim its share of the glory, 
which was all the more grateful because it was unexpected. 
Mr. Tilden was no rabble-rouser. He kept alike his secrets 
and his counsels. He had not proclaimed the impending 
victory from the house-tops. But let us draw the curtain 
and leave the braves at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Fif- 
teenth Street to their unrestrained conviviality. 


The time and the man had met. Although Mr. Tilden had 
not before held administrative office, he was ripe and ready 
for the work to be done. His experience in the pursuit and 
overthrow of the Tweed Ring in New York, the great me- 
tropolis, had prepared and fitted him to deal with the Canal 
Ring at Albany, the State capital. Administrative reform 
was now uppermost in the public mind, and here in the Em- 
pire State of the Union had come to the head of affairs a chief 
magistrate at once exact and exacting, deeply versed not 
only in legal lore, but in a knowledge of the men through 
whom and the methods by which political power was being 
turned to private profit. There were Democrats as well as 
Republicans among those preying upon the substance of the 

The story of the two years that followed relates to inves- 
tigations that investigated, to prosecutions that convicted, 
to the overhauling of the civil fabric and the rehabilitation 



of popular censorship, to reduced estimates and lower taxes. 
The Manhattan Club supported these manfully. It saw in 
them the realization of the objects which had called it into 

The campaign for the Presidential nomination began as 
early as the autumn of 1875. The Southern end of it was 
easy enough. A committee of Southerners residing in New 
York, most of them members of the Club, was formed. 
Never a leading Southern man came to town who was not 
"seen." If of enough importance, he was shown around to 15 
Gramercy Park. Be sure he next turned up at the corner of 
Fifteenth Street and Fifth Avenue. 

Mr. Tilden measured up to the Southern standard of the 
gentleman in politics. He impressed the disfranchised 
Southern leaders as a statesman of the old order, and alto- 
gether after their own idea of what a President ought to be. 
The South came to St. Louis, the seat of the National Con- 
vention, represented by its foremost citizens and almost a 
unit for the Governor of New York. The main opposition 
sprang from Tammany Hall, of which John Kelly was then 
the chief. Its very extravagance proved an advantage to 
Tilden. Two days before the meeting of the convention I 
sent this message to Gramercy Park, "Tell Blackstone" (his 
favorite among his horses and a Kentuckian) "that he wins in 
a walk." The anti-Tilden men put up the Hon. S. S. ("Sun- 
set") Cox for temporary chairman. It was a clever move. 
Mr. Cox, though sure for Tammany, was popular every- 
where, and very much so at the South. His backers thought 
that with him they could count upon a majority of the Na- 
tional Committee. 

The night before the assembling Mr. Tilden's two or three 
leading friends on the Committee came to me and said, "We 
can elect you chairman over Cox, but no one else." I de- 
murred at once. "I don't know one rule of parliamentary 
law from another," I said. "We will have the best parliamen- 



tarian on the continent right by you all the time," they said. 
"I can't see to recognize a man on the floor of the conven- 
tion," I said. "We '11 have a dozen men to see for you," they 
replied. So it was arranged, and thus at the last moment I 
was chosen. 

I had barely time to write the required "key-note" speech, 
but not to commit it to memory, nor sight to read it even 
had I been willing to adopt that mode of delivery. It would 
never do in such a matter to trust to extemporization. A 
friend. Colonel Stoddard Johnston, who was familiar with 
my rough penmanship, came to the rescue. Concealing my 
manuscript behind his hat, he lined the words out to me be- 
tween the cheering, I having mastered a few opening sen- 

Luck was with me. It went with a bang. Not wholly 
without detection, however. The Indianians, devoted to 
Hendricks, were very wroth. "See that fat man behind the 
hat telling him what to say," said one to his neighbor, who 
answered, "Yes, and wrote it for him, too, I '11 be bound." 

One might as well attempt to drive six horses by proxy as 
preside over a National Convention by hearsay. I lost my 
parliamentarian at once. I just made my parliamentary law 
as we went along. Never before nor since did any deliber- 
ative body proceed under manual so startling and original. 
But I delivered each ruling with a resonance — it were better 
called an impudence — which had an air of authority. There 
was a good deal of quiet laughing on the floor among the 
knowing ones — though I knew the mass were as ignorant as 
I was myself — and, realizing that I meant to be just and was 
expediting business, the Convention soon warmed to me, 
and, feeling this, I began to be perfectly at home. I never 
had a better day's sport in all my life. 

One incident was particularly amusing. Much against 
my will and over my protest, I was brought to promise that 
Miss Phoebe Couzins, who bore a Woman's Rights me- 



morial, should at some opportune moment be given the floor 
to present it. I foresaw what a row it was bound to raise. 
Toward noon, when there was a lull in the proceedings, I 
said with an emphasis meant to carry conviction: "Gentle- 
men of the Convention, Miss Phoebe Couzins, a represen- 
tative of the Woman's Rights Association of America, has a 
memorial from that body, and, in the absence of other imme- 
diate business, the Chair will now recognize her." 

Then the storm broke loose. Instantly, and from every 
part of the hall, there arose cries of "No!" The opposition 
put some heart into me. Many a time as a school-boy I had 
proudly declaimed the passage from John Home's tragedy, 
"My name is Norval." Again I stood upon "the Grampian 
hills." The committee was escorting Miss Couzins down 
the aisle. When she came within the range of my poor 
vision I could see that she was a beauty and dressed to kill ! 
That was reassurance. Gaining a little time while the hall 
fairly rocked with its thunder of negation, I laid the gavel 
down, stepped to the edge of the platform, and gave Miss 
Couzins my hand. As she appeared above the throng there 
was a momentary "Ah," and then a lull broken by a single 
voice : "Mr. Chairman, I rise to a point of order." leading 
Miss Couzins to the front of the stage, I took up the gavel 
and gave a gentle rap, saying, "The gentleman will take his 

"But, Mr. Chairman, I rise to a point of order," he 

"The gentleman will take his seat instantly," I answered 
in the tone of one about to throw the gavel at his head. "Na 
point of order is in order when a lady has the floor." 

After that Miss Couzins received a positive ovation, and,, 
having delivered her message, retired in a blaze of glory. 

Mr. Tilden was nominated on the second ballot. The 
campaign which followed proved one of the most memorable 
in our history. When it came to an end the result showed 



on the face of the returns 196 in the Electoral College, 21 
more than a majority, and in the popular vote 4,300,316, a 
majority of 264,300 over Hayes. 

How this came to be first contested and then complicated 
so as ultimately to be set aside has been minutely related by 
its authors. 

The newspapers of the eighth of November, the morning 
after the election, both Republican and Democratic, con- 
ceded an overwhelming victory for Tilden and Hendricks. 
There was, however, a single exception. The "New York 
Times" had gone to press with its first edition leaving the 
result in doubt, though inclining toward the success of the 
Democrats. In its later editions this tentative attitude was 
changed to the statement that Hayes lacked the vote only of 
Florida, "claimed by the Republicans," to be sure of the 
required 185 votes in the Electoral College. The story of 
this surprising discrepancy between midnight and daylight 
reads like a chapter of fiction. 

After the early edition of the "Times" had gone to press 
certain members of the editorial staff were at supper, very 
much cast down by the returns, when a messenger brought 
a telegram from Senator Barnum of Connecticut, finance 
head of the Democratic National Committee, asking for the 
"Times's" latest news from Oregon, Louisiana, Florida, and 
South Carolina. Except for that unlucky telegram, Tilden 
would probably have been inaugurated President of the 
United States. 

The "Times" people, intense Republican partisans, saw at 
once an opportunity. If Barnum did not know, why might 
not a doubt be raised? At once the editorial in the first edi- 
tion was revised to take a decisive tone and declare the elec- 
tion of Hayes. One of the editorial council, Mr. John C. 
Reid, hurried to Republican headquarters in the Fifth Ave- 
nue Hotel, which he found deserted, the triumph of Tilden 
having long before sent everybody to bed. Mr. Reid then 










United States. 

Tbe*Times'* intense > at 

c If Bar 



sought the room of Senator Zachariah Chandler, chairman 
of the National Republican Committee. While upon this 
errand he encountered in the hotel corridor "a small man 
wearing an immense pair of goggles, his hat drawn over his 
ears, a great-coat with a heavy military cloak, and carrying 
a gripsack and newspaper in his hand." The newspaper was 
the "New York Tribune" announcing the election of Tilden 
and the defeat of Hayes. The newcomer was Mr. William 
E. Chandler, just arrived from New Hampshire and very 
much exasperated by what he had read. 

Mr. Reid had another tale to tell. The two found Mr. 
Zachariah Chandler, who bade them "leave him alone and do 
whatever they thought best." They did so consumingly, 
sending telegrams to Columbia, Tallahassee, and New Or- 
leans stating to each of the parties addressed that the result 
of the election depended upon his State. To these were ap- 
pended the signature of Zachariah Chandler. Later in the 
day. Senator Chandler, advised of what had been set on foot 
and its possibilities, issued from National Republican Head- 
quarters this laconic message: "Hayes has 185 Electoral 
votes and is elected." Thus began and was put in motion 
the scheme to confuse the returns and make a disputed count 
of the vote. 


The day after the election I wired Mr. Tilden suggesting 
that, as Governor of New York, he propose to Mr. Hayes, 
the Governor of Ohio, that they unite upon a committee of 
eminent citizens, composed in equal numbers of the friends 
of each, who should proceed at once to Louisiana, which 
appeared to be the objective point of greatest moment to the 
already contested result. Pursuant to a telegraphic corre- 
spondence which followed, I left Louisville that night for 
New Orleans. I was joined en route by Mr. Lamar of Mis- 



sissippi, and together we arrived in the Crescent City on 
Friday morning. 

It has since transpired that the Republicans were 
promptly advised by the Western Union Telegraph Com- 
pany of all that passed over its wires, and my despatches to 
Mr. Tilden were read in Republican headquarters at least as 
soon as they reached Gramercy Park. 

Mr. Tilden did not adopt the plan of a direct proposal to 
Mr. Hayes. Instead he chose a body of Democrats to go to 
the "seat of war." But before any of them had arrived, 
General Grant, anticipating what was about to happen, ap- 
pointed a body of Republicans for the like purpose, and the 
advance-guard of these appeared on the scene the following 

Within a week the St. Charles Hotel might have been mis- 
taken for a caravansary of the national capital. Among 
the Republicans there were John Sherman, Stanley Mat- 
thews, Garfield and Evarts, Logan, Kelly, and Stoughton, 
and many others. Among the Democrats, besides Lamar 
and myself, came Lyman Trumbull, Samuel J. Randall, and 
William R. Morrison, McDonald of Indiana, and many 
others. More or less of personal intimacy existed between 
the members of the two groups, and the "entente" was quite 
as unrestrained as might have existed between rival athletic 
teams. A Kentucky friend sent me a demijohn of what was 
represented as very old Bourbon, and I shared it with "our 
friends the enemy." New Orleans was new to most of the 
"visiting statesmen," and we attended the places of amuse- 
ment, lived in the restaurants, and "saw the sights," as 
though we had been tourists in a foreign land and not par- 
tisans charged with the business of adjusting a Presidential 
election from irreconcilable points of view. 

My own relations were especially friendly with John Sher- 
man and James A. Garfield, a colleague on the Ways and 
Means Committee, and with Stanley Matthews, who was a 



near kinsman by marriage and had stood as an elder brother 
to me from my childhood. 

Corruption was in the air. That the Returning Board was 
for sale and could be bought was the universal impression. 
Every day some one turned up with pretended authority and 
an offer. Most of these were, of course, the merest adven- 
turers. It was my own belief that the Returning Board was 
playing for the best price it could get from the Republicans, 
and that the only effect of any offer to buy on our part would 
be to assist this scheme of blackmail. 

The Returning Board consisted of two white men, Wells 
and Anderson, and two negroes, Kenner and Casanave. 
They were one and all without character. I was tempted 
through sheer curiosity to listen to a proposal which seemed 
to come directly from the Board itself, the messenger being 
a well-known State senator. As if he were proposing to dis- 
pose of a horse or a dog, he stated his errand. 

"You think you can deliver the goods?" said I. 

"I am authorized to make the offer," he answered. 

"And for how much?" I asked. 

"Two hundred and fifty thousand dollars," he replied. 
"One hundred thousand each for Wells and Anderson, and 
twenty-five thousand apiece for the niggers." 

To my mind it was a joke. "Senator," said I, "the terms 
are as cheap as dirt. I don't happen to have the exact 
amount about me at this moment, but I will communicate 
with my principal and see you later." 

Having no thought of communicating with anybody or 
seriously entertaining such a proposal, I had forgotten the 
incident, when, two or three days after, my man met me in 
the lobby of the hotel and pressed for a definite reply. I then 
told him I had found I possessed no authority to act, and 
advised him to go elsewhere. 

It is claimed that Wells and Anderson did agree to sell, 
were turned down by Mr. Hewitt, and, their demands for 



cash refused by the Democrats, took their final pay in pa- 
tronage from their own party.^ 

I passed the Christmas week of 1876 in New York with Mr. 
Tilden. We dined alone on Christmas Day. The outlook 
was, on the whole, cheering. With John Bigelow and Man- 
ton Marble he had been busily engaged compiling the data 
for a constitutional battle to be fought by the Democrats in 
Congress, maintaining the right of the House of Represen- 
tatives to concurrent jurisdiction with the Senate in the 
counting of the Electoral vote, pursuant to an unbroken line 
of precedents established by the method of procedure in 
every Presidential election between 1793 and 1873. 

There was very great perplexity in the public mind. Both 
parties were far at sea. The dispute between the Democratic 
House and the Republican Senate made for thick weather. 
Contests of the vote of three States, Louisiana, South Caro- 
lina, and Florida — not to mention single votes in Oregon and 
Vermont — which presently began to blow a gale, had already 
spread menacing clouds across the political sky. Except Mr. 
Tilden, the wisest among the leaders knew not precisely 
what to do. 

From New Orleans, the Saturday night succeeding the 
Presidential election, I had wired Mr. Tilden detailing the 
exact conditions there and urging active and immediate 
agitation. The chance had been lost. I thought then, and I 

1 At a meeting held at Chickering Hall on the evening of November 12, 1891, 
to sympathize with Governor Nichols's war on the Louisiana lottery system, 
the late Abram S. Hewitt was one of the speakers. In the course of his re- 
marks in denunciation of the lottery gambling in Louisiana, Mr. Hewitt said: 

"I can't find words strong enough to express my feelings regarding this 
brazen fraud. This scheme of plunder develops a weak spot in the government 
of the United States, which I would not mention were it not for the importance 
of the issue. We all know that a single State frequently determines the result 
of a Presidential election. The State of Louisiana has determined the result of 
a Presidential election. The vote of that State was offered to me for money, 
-and I declined to buy it. But the vote of that State was sold for money 1" 



still think, that the conspiracy of a few men to use the cor- 
rupt Returning Boards of Louisiana, South Carolina, and 
Florida to upset the election and make confusion in Con- 
gress, might, by prompt exposure and popular appeal, have 
been thwarted. Be this as it may, my spirit was depressed 
and my confidence discouraged by the intense quietude on 
our side, sure that underneath the surface the Republicans, 
with resolute determination and multiplied resources, were 
as busy as bees. 

Mr. Robert M. McLane, later Governor of Maryland and 
Minister to France, a man of rare ability and large experi- 
ence who had served in Congress and in diplomacy and was 
an old friend of Mr. Tilden, had been at a Gramercy Park 
conference when my New Orleans report arrived, and had 
then and there urged the agitation recommended by me. He 
was now again in New York. When a lad he had been in 
London with his father, Lewis McLane, then American 
Minister to the Court of St. James, during the excitement 
over the Reform Bill of 1832. He had witnessed the popular 
demonstrations and been impressed by the direct force of 
public opinion upon law-making and law-makers. An 
analogous situation had arisen in America. The Repub- 
lican Senate was as the Tory House of Lords. We must 
organize a movement such as had been so effectual in Eng- 
land. Obviously, something was going amiss with us, and 
something had to be done. 

It was agreed that I should return to Washington and 
make a speech, "feeling the pulse" of the country with the 
suggestion that there should assemble in the national 
capital "a mass convention of at least one hundred thou- 
sand peaceful citizens," exercising "the freeman's right of 

The idea was one of many proposals of a more drastic 
kind, and the merest venture. I myself had no great faith in 
it. But I prepared the speech, and after much reading and 



revising it was held by Mr. Tilden and Mr. McLane to cover 
the case and meet the purpose. Mr. Tilden wrote Mr. Ran- 
dall a letter, carried to Washington by Mr. McLane, in- 
structing him what to do in the event that the popular 
response should prove favorable. 

Alack-the-day! The Democrats were equal to nothing 
affirmative. The Republicans were united and resolute. I 
delivered the speech, not in the House, as had been intended, 
but at a public meeting which seemed opportune. The 
Democrats at once set about denying the sinister purpose 
ascribed to it by the Republicans, who, fully advised that it 
had emanated from Gramercy Park and came by authority, 
started a counter-agitation of their own. 

I was made the target for every manner of ridicule and 
abuse. Nast had a grotesque cartoon which was both offen- 
sive and libellous. Being on friendly terms with the Harpers, 
I made my displeasure so resonant in Franklin Square — 
Nast himself having no personal ill-will — that a curious and 
pleasing opportunity which came to pass was taken to make 
amends. A son having been born to me, "Harper's Weekly" 
contained an atoning cartoon representing the child in its 
father's arms, and beneath the legend, "The only one of the 
one hundred thousand in arms who came when he was 

For many years afterward this unlucky speech — or rather 
the misinterpretation given it alike by friend and foe — pur- 
sued me. Nast's first cartoon was accepted as a faithful 
portrait, and I was accordingly satirized and stigmatized, 
although no thought of violence had ever entered my mind, 
and in the final proceedings I had voted for the Electoral 
Commission Bill and faithfully stood by its decisions. Joseph 
Pulitzer, who immediately followed me on the occasion 
named, declared that he wanted my "one hundred thousand" 
to come fully armed and ready for business, yet was never 
taken to task or reminded of his temerity. 


TTTT? mA% 

dali '-i it. 


started a c; 


0} ^ 
^ o 

su«d 3 tirst cartoon was accepted as 

3. Joseph 

ateiy i 



But a truce to historic detail. The untoward events that 
followed do not properly belong to this narrative. Let 
us return to the Club and the personality of its most cele- 
brated member. As I have said, Mr. Tilden*s "blue seal" 
Johannisberger was very famous. I recall a dinner he gave 
Lord Houghton at the Club, when that delightful bon vi- 
vant, man-of-the-world, and poet was a visitor in America 
and he was Governor of New York. The Club cellar was 
justly celebrated, and it furnished the awful succession and 
prodigal variety of rare and costly wines usual to the semi- 
barbaric banquets of a day that is happily gone forever. 
Toward the close the glasses were changed and the Club 
butler appeared with an air of superiority almost regal. 
"Lord Houghton," said Manton Marble, who sat next his 
lordship, "Governor Tilden has a vineyard in Minnesota 
which his friends think very well of, and he is going to ask 
your opinion." I sat directly opposite and could see the 
suppressed grimace with which the most knowing and fas- 
tidious of gourmets prepared to deliver a diplomatic judg- 
ment upon a presumably raw product of Yankee ignorance 
and vanity. The wine was poured. The old Lord lifted his 
glass. As it reached the half-way point between the table 
and his nose, and he caught the aroma, he paused, put the 
wine slowly to his lips, and with perfect but all-embracing 
composure said: "I think the Governor has reason to con- 
gratulate himself upon his vineyard." 

There is yet another story to be told of the "blue seal." 
It has to do with the Presidential campaign of 1876. Indiana 
had become the storm-centre. In those days there was an 
October vote and a State election, a month in advance of the 
National election. Both parties made this their objective 
point; the party that carried the first election was likely to 
carry the second. The electoral votes of Indiana and New 



York, with those of the "Solid South," gave the Democrats 
the Electoral College. We were sure of New York; we were 
sure of the Solid South; Indiana was the missing "link." 

About the middle of September I was called to Indianapo- 
lis by the chairman of the Democratic State Committee. 
Three weeks later the October State election would be held; 
money was indispensable — not corruption money; money 
for banners and bonfires, for demonstrations and proces- 
sions, for barbecues and orators. The Republicans seemed 
to have plenty. The Democrats had exhausted their slender 
local resources, and unless they could get help from the 
National Committee the leaders felt that they were lost. I 
had a pocketful of railway annuals, a duster, and a straw hat, 
and I took the midnight train for New York. If I expected 
to get the wherewithal and return by the next train, — and 
my present memory is that this was about the size of it, — I 
reckoned decidedly without my host. 

Governor Tilden came down from Albany. He, Mr. 
Hewitt (then chairman of the National Committee), Mr. 
Edward Cooper, and myself had a number of conferences 
extending from Thursday to Saturday. Time was precious. 

Saturday afternoon the Governor took me back into the 
famous bay-window overlooking the garden of the house in 
Gramercy Park. 

Said he : "I have some money. I am not afraid to spend it. 
But don't you think it a little unusual to expect so much of 
the candidate?" 

"No, Governor," I promptly replied, "I do not. On the 
representation that money would not be wanting, we got the 


He took three lengths of the room, came back into the lit- 
tle vestibule connecting with the library, that served also for 
a dining-room, where Hewitt and Cooper were anxiously 
waiting, and in that peculiar half-nasal voice of his, part 
peremptory and part querulous, he said : 



"How much do you require?" 

"Sixty thousand dollars," I said. 

"You don't want it all at once?" said he. 

"No, twenty thousand next Monday, twenty thousand the 
Monday after, and twenty thousand the Monday before the 
October vote!" 

"Will you take it?" 



"Because I have nothing to do with it. I am here to tell 
you the facts. I am not a money-handler. Of course I won't 
have anything else to do with it." 

"How will Barnum do?" 

"The very man." 

Mr. Barnum was in Indianapolis the next Monday morn- 
ing. It will be recalled that later on he was authorized to 
"buy seven more mules." 

We carried the October vote "hands down," and likewise 
the November vote. But upon that particular visit my 
tribulation was by no means over. The Governor had uses 
for me in New York. In vain I pleaded my own affairs. In 
vain I pleaded imperative speaking appointments. He 
would take no excuses. From the warm days of September 
into the cool days of October he detained me — kept me busy, 
too. He had a number of hats and overcoats, and I had ap- 
propriated a hat and an overcoat as the weather changed. 
Finally he consented to let me go. The last night I came 
into the cozy old library-dining-room and found him alone 
with Manton Marble. 

"Governor," said I, "you have treated me worse than a 
stepson or a poor relation. You have kept me here three 
weeks on your own business. You have loaned me an old 
overcoat and an old hat. If you had had the least style about 
you, you would have presented me with new ones. I leave 
these with Louis." (Louis was the valet.) 



"Oh, don't do that!" he exclaimed. "Wear them home 
and send them back by the sleeping-car porter. Those Pull- 
man porters are perfectly reliable." 

"Governor Tilden," said I, sternly and with reproach in 
every word, "when I get on the train I shall not need them. 
When I get home I shall find my own. But I '11 tell you what 
I '11 do. If you will send down for a bottle of the *blue seal* 
for Marble and me, I '11 forgive you and call the account 

He was a dear old body as ever lived. He loved his friends 
to take liberties with his hospitality. David, the butler, the 
most imposing person then resident in or near Gramercy 
Park, was standing at the sideboard. 

"Why, certainly," said Mr. Tilden; and, turning to the 
butler, he added, "David, go down and bring Mr. Watterson 
a bottle of the *blue seal.' " 

David, who knew his business, hesitated. 

"Henry," said Mr. Tilden, "do you know that I consider 
that Steinberger Cabinet every bit as good as the *blue seal'? 
Sometimes I think it better. But you can have whichever 
you please." 

I answered that, if I might have my choice, I would take 
the "blue seal." The end of it was that we had both ; first the 
"blue seal" Johannisberger and then the Steinberger Cabinet, 
and I am bound to allow that there was precious little differ- 
ence between them — both the rarest of German wines and 
the best. The Governor, Manton Marble, and I sat for an 
hour or more over those two bottles, and had a deal of 
friendly talk. The Governor, in particular, glowed under 
the influence of the fragrance, and Marble, the most agree- 
able of men, was in his best mood and vein. We were "three 
of a kind." At last, in a moment of assxirance and exuber- 
ance. Marble said : 

"And, Governor, what are we — Watterson and I — to have 
when you come into your kingdom?" 



I shall never forget — for I happened to look directly at 
him — the expression that came over the face of our delight- 
ful "Uncle Samuel"! He was a little flushed by the wine. 
His bright eyes were a trifle brighter. With a half-humor- 
ous, half-shy expression — an affectation with him, for his 
was a direct and an open nature — he said with deliberation 
and epigrammatic stress : "You boys don't want any offices. 
They would do you more harm than good. What you really 
want is big influence with the administration." 

To me, at the moment, what he said had no significance. 
I weis a young member of Congress for an emergency, who 
could not afford to stay in public life. My professional 
world, which was yet in issue, quite sufficed me, and I was 
not dreaming of office. The bottles were empty. We passed 
into the corridor. The old gentleman went with us and saw 
us out of the great storm-door. As he closed this. Marble 
said to me : 
"Watterson, did you hear what that old devil said?" 
"No," I answered innocently. "What about?" 
"Why, about no office, but big influence with his adminis- 
tration. Do you know — blank blank him! — that he meant 
every word of it?" 

It was too good to keep. After all was over, after the tur- 
bulence of the succeeding Congress, after the Electoral 
Commission, after the exclusion, the funny incident recurred 
to me, and during some moments of effusion and confidence 
it escaped me. And, somehow, it got to the ears of Governor 
Tilden. And one evening at Greystone, with a party of 
friends, the Governor turned to me and said, "Tell us the 
story of the *blue seal.' " And, as here related, I told it 


Mr. Tilden accepted the result of the Electoral Tribunal of 
1877 with equanimity. "I was at his house," says John 



Bigelow, "when his exclusion was announced to him, and 
also on the fourth of March, when Mr. Hayes was inaugu- 
rated, and it was impossible to remark any change in his 
manner, except perhaps that he was less absorbed than usual 
and more interested in current affairs." His was an in- 
tensely serious mind; and he had come to regard the Presi- 
dency rather as a burden to be borne, an opportunity for 
public usefulness, involving a life of constant toil and care, 
than as occasion for personal exploitation and rejoicing. 

However much of captivation the idea of the Presidency 
may have had for him when he was first named for the office, 
I cannot say, for he was as unexultant in the moment of vic- 
tory as unsubdued in the hour of defeat; but it is certainly 
true that he gave no sign of disappointment to any of his 
friends. He lived nearly ten years after, in a noble home- 
stead called Greystone, which he had purchased for himself, 
overlooking the Hudson River, the same ideal life of the 
scholar and gentleman he had passed in Gramercy Park. 

Looking back over these untoward and sometimes mysti- 
fying events, I have often asked myself was it possible, with 
the elements what they were and he himself what he was, to 
seat Mr. Tilden in the office to which he had been elected. 
The missing ingredient in a character intellectually and 
morally great, and a personality far from unimpressive, was 
the touch of the dramatic discoverable in most of the leaders 
of men : even in such leaders as William of Orange and Louis 
XI, as Cromwell and Washington. 

There was nothing spectacular about Mr. Tilden. Not 
wanting the sense of humor, he seldom indulged it; nor posi- 
tivity of opinion and amplitude of knowledge, yet always 
courteous and deferential in debate. He had none of the 
audacious daring, let us say, of Mr. Blaine, the energetic 
self-assertion of Mr. Roosevelt. Either, in his place, would 
have carried all before him. 

A character further from that of a subtle schemer sitting 



behind his screen and pulling his wires — which his political 
and party enemies discovered him to be as soon as he began 
to get in the way of the machine and obstruct the march of 
the self-elect — it would be hard to find. His confidences were 
not effusive nor their subjects numerous. His deliberation 
was unfailing, and sometimes carried the idea of indecision, 
not to say actual love of procrastination. But in my experi- 
ence with him I found that he generally ended where he be- 
gan, and it was nowise difficult for those whom he trusted to 
divine the bias of his mind where he thought it best to re- 
serve its conclusions. I do not think that in any great affair 
he ever hesitated longer than the gravity of the case required 
for a prudent man, or that he had a preference for delays, or 
that he climg over-tenaciously to both horns of the dilemma, 
as his professional training and instinct might have led him 
to do, and certainly did expose him to the accusation of 

He was a philosopher and took the world as he found it. 
He rarely complained and never inveighed. He had a dis- 
criminating way of balancing men's good and bad qualities 
and of giving each the benefit of a generous accounting, and 
a just way of expecting no more of a man than it was in him 
to yield. As he got into deeper water his stature rose to its 
level, and, from his exclusion from the Presidency in 1877 to 
his renunciation of public affairs in 1884, and his death in 
1886, his walks and ways might have been a study for all 
who would learn life's truest lessons and know the real 
sources of honor, happiness, and fame. 


Robert C. Hutchings was in the seventies one of the gayest, 
most brilliant, and conspicuous members of the Manhattan 
Club. He was surrogate of New York County, at that time, 
except the sheriff, quite the richest pa5dng office within the 



popular gift. Being a son-in-law of Richard Connolly, next 
to Tweed the chief of the Tammany Ring which Mr. Tilden 
had driven from power, he could not, Mr. Tilden being now 
governor and party leader, hope to run for re-election. 

One morning, newly arrived in town, as I was entering the 
Club I met "Bob" Hutchings coming out. According to his 
custom, he greeted me warmly. Douglas Taylor joined us 
as we stood upon the stoop. "Boys," said Hutchings, "I 
want you to join me at dinner this evening at seven, to meet 
my dear friend, Mr. Van Schaick." 

"And who is Mr. Van Schaick?" I asked. 

"He is one of my deputies who has just been nominated to 
succeed me," he answered, "and I particularly want you to 
meet him and tell him you don't think he ought to accept 
the nomination." 

"Why, what in thunder have I to do with it?" 

Robert was a humorist and something of a dramatist, and 
with an air of finality he said, "That is my business. I give 
you and Douglas here a good dinner. You tell old man Van 
Schaick not to run for surrogate. That is all. Is it a 

To be sure it was. Mr. Van Schaick appeared to be a most 
amiable old gentleman. The dinner was a feast for a Bar- 
mecide. The wines could not be excelled. As the flow of 
soul proceeded, the comedy of the situation took possession 
of my fancy, and when the opportune moment arrived I not 
only told him that in my judgment he should decline the 
nomination he had just received, but I gave him unanswer- 
able reasons that shaped themselves as I proceeded, though 
knowing nothing whatever about the case. Pen, ink, and 
paper were sent for. Mr. Van Schaick thanked me for my 
counsels, and then and there indited a note declining the 
nomination, which was immediately despatched to the news- 
papers and printed the next morning. The day after the 
same papers contained another note csmcelling the first note 



and accepting the nomination. A month later Mr. Van 
Schaick was elected. 

The incident passed out of my memory. , Ten years later, 
however, as Hutchings and I were driving in the Bois de 
Boulogne, it recurred to me, and I said, "Robert, what was 
the meaning of the game you got me to sit in that night at 
the Manhattan Club?" 

He looked at me, a little surprised and a little quizzical. 
"Did n't you know?" said he. 

"No," I answered, truly enough. 

"Did n*t you suspect?" he again asked. 

"What had I to suspect?" said I. 

"Well," and he gave a long sigh of incredulity, "you are 
an innocent! I could never have believed it of you. The 
nomination of old Van Schaick, my deputy, took me un- 
awares. I had not expected it. I had made no arrangements 
to meet it. I required twenty-four hours. The moment I 
saw you a way to these framed itself. I had you for dinner. 
I had Van Schaick. Don't you see? You were Tilden." 


In closing this chronicle of incidents and characters that al- 
ready begin to fade in the direction of shadow-land, I cannot 
deny myself the story of an experience having to do with the 
old homestead purchased by the Manhattan Club and recon- 
structed to suit itself, which is now its permanent and hon- 
ored abode. Originally the residence of Leonard Jerome, it 
became in the early sixties the Union League Club, and when 
that rich and powerful organization was able to buy a site 
and build a home of its own, a club, improvised to find Mr. 
Jerome a tenant, and called the Turf Club, moved in. It was 
rather a queer conglomeration, devoted, as its name implied, 
to sport. It lived only two or three years. After it the Uni- 
versity Club took the house. 



One night, after a dinner party at Delmonico*s, just across 
the Square, Mr. James R. Keene, enjoying his first fling as 
"King of the Street" ; Mr. Lawrence R. Jerome, and myself 
— all members of the Turf, albeit no one of us had ever been 
within its doors — thought to "see what it was like," and, not 
to be out of fashion or behind the procession, were presently 
embarked in a game of baccarat, which the club affected and 
was trying — vainly, as the issue proved — to introduce to 
New York. There was an iron-clad club rule — very neces- 
sary, we were assured — against either borrowing or lending 
in the club-house, and to weather this restriction we had 
pooled the inconsiderable amounts we had in hand, playing 
at first in such luck that we might have retired betimes 
happy, respectable, and rich. But at last the inevitable ar- 
rived, for poor Cinderella overstayed her time and over- 
played her means, and went broke — flat broke — dead broke. 
When we descended to the street below, it was raining cats 
and dogs. Mr. Keene called a cabman from the long line 
in front, and telling the man he wished him to take each of 
us to his destination, asked what would be his charge for the 

"Ten dollars," said Cabby. 

"All right," said Keene; "drive up." 

"But," said Cabby, "I want my money in advance." 

This was a poser. "My friend," said the "King of Wall 
Street," "you ought to know me — I am Mr. Keene — Mr. 
James R. Keene — and — " 

"Thunder!" exclaimed the cabman; "there 's been three 
Jeems R. Keenes out here to-night, and I ain't able to tell 
which from t'other!" 

Finally I induced Cabby to drive us to the Everett House 
in Union Square, my own abiding-place. There I obtained 
the requisite ten dollars from the night clerk, and sent my 
two temporarily impoverished and rather dejected compan- 
ions home. 


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"Little Old New York," the show people call it. Seen in 
fancy beyond a succession of endless cross-ties, it must 
seem so, indeed; though no other city in the world has for its 
sobriquet any such term of endearment. The "sound of Bow 
Bells" is merely an historic saying, not an affectionate re- 
minder of London; the "smell of the asphalt," a rather un- 
meaning Parisian epigram. No one ever heard the "Bells," 
while the asphalt may be "smelt" in many cities; but the 
"Rialto" and the "Great White Way"; Fifth Avenue and the 
Park and Madison Square in succession to the yet older 
Izmdmarks of fashion southerly and eastward — sacred to the 
memory of the Flora McFlimseys of yore — and Harlem, 
"Maggie Murphy's Home," no less than that of the Mulligan 
Guards, shrine of the McSorleys and the Cordelias of an era 
when a little burnt-cork theatre was a local, almost a na- 
tional institution — never a "sky-scraper" to distract, nor a 
"movie" to mislead — Gotham of the seventies, the eighties, 
and the nineties will live in legend as itself; none like it; just 
beloved, plain "little old New York." 

To the men of those days who yet survive it must always 
remain a radiant memory. Everybody knew everybody. If 
"he" or "she" were in town, the seeker had only to wait long 
enough about Delmonico's or the Fifth Avenue Hotel, or 
upon any of many street corners. The clubs were not too 
numerous; nor the theatres, the restaurants and chop- 
houses. The Union League and the Manhattan led club life 
then, as they lead it now — the Century over-literary, the 
Lotos over-cirtistic, the University and the Metropolitan in 
embryo — a certain community both of interest and feeling 
permeating all memberships, which the expanding condi- 
tions of a world centre are fast dissipating. The pretty pro- 
vincialism of Murray Hill is going — going — gone. The 
picturesque long since disappeared from Swelldom. Wall 



Street, that melancholy cul-de-sac which takes its start out 
from a churchyard to end in a deep and mighty stream, — yet, 
like King Cole, "a jolly old soul," — has become a ruler of 
finance, lending to nations and underwriting empires; a 
grand seigneur, disdaining the antics which once distin- 
guished the money devil, to hold the "ignobile vulgus" at 
arm's length. The ghosts of Jim Fisk and old Daniel Drew, 
of Gould and Sage, walking under the shadow of the spire of 
Trinity, would see many changes and encounter people even 
queerer than themselves ; though the "Commodore," who in 
life knew what he was about and planned a century ahead, 
might, revisiting the glimpses of the moon, turn about eind 
say, "Did I not tell you so?" It seems but yesterday that he 
sat playing whist in the Manhattan Club, with Ben Wood 
for a partner, the Belmonts, the Wards, and the Schells as 
onlookers — one of them now and again sitting in the game. 
Memory as she flies may take but a kodak snap, yet it has 
a character all its own; and it is something not wholly lost 
to the present to be able to catch from the past even the 
faintest aroma of those days, and to murmur as the curtain 

"The gaits we have gone without tiring. 

The songs that together we Ve sung; 
The jests to whose merry inspiring 

Our mingling of laughter hath rung; 
Oh, trifles like these become precious. 

When seen through the vista of years. 
And the smiles of the past so remembered, 

How often they waken our tears!" 








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1 60 


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